Our oldest daughter went to a unique and exceptional public middle school that took students out into nature for up to three weeks every year. They paddled canoes, swam, sailed, hiked, cooked over open fires and slept in tents. Most of it was done in our beautiful state of Washington, but during her last year, she even got the chance to go to Costa Rica. Lucky me, I went as a chaperone.
My daughter has never been much of a camper, but those weeks she spent living outdoors in middle school are some of her most treasured childhood memories.
Now, as she’s about to embark on her senior year of high school, she’s been walking down memory lane. Lucky us, we get to go along for the ride.
Earlier this month — just by chance, on the eve of the solar eclipse — we went camping at Deception Pass, where her middle school went every spring.
It was delightful,
We followed our daughter around the park’s campground and hiking trails, and listened to her stories. We even walked up to a small hilltop, overlooking the majestic Deception Pass bridge, and spent time drawing, just like she did in her camp “art rotation.”
The location was inspiring.
While the rest of my family did more detailed drawings, I drew a clumsy line drawing and then flipped the paper over to write a poem.
Overlooking Deception Pass, 5:33 p.m.
(On the Eve of the Solar Eclipse)
On the hilltop we sit side by side
and catch our breaths from the steep walk up
past madronas, late-season wildflowers,
a sand-castle beach, tide pools
covered over by high tide.
A seal surfaces in the water below.
Boats sail under the majestic bridge.
Cars drive slowly over,
passengers gawk from windows.
Shadows soften and warm,
and the sunset drenches our drawings
with memories of childhood .
Tomorrow the moon
will cover the sun
and we’ll watch
We watched the sunset and settled into our tent for the night.
When we awoke the next morning, a thick fog had rolled in and we were worried about it “eclipsing” our view of the eclipse.
But our good fortune held out. Most of the fog vanished as we walked out to the point where we planned to watch the solar spectacle.
It turned out perfect.
Another memory for the bank, all thanks to my daughter’s middle school.