I am back from the great wild yonder!!!
And oh the sights we did see!!
beach and boat launch view
the river marsh canoe route
You can see more of our camping adventures on Wordless Wednesday - expect a photo explosion since I took my big girl camera with me this trip.

In the meantime, I am busy getting caught up on all your comments and blogs.
And laundry.
I'm scaling mountains of dirty clothes folks.

I thought since I will be busy cleaning and sorting and folding and re-packing All The Things, I would leave you with Part Two of the my non-scary campfire tale.

Find Part One Here.

Part Two:

His sister was going to kill him.  

They had arrived too late for viewing, let alone catching, any kind of sea creature.  To curb the lad's disappointment, a rousing game of tag had started, and the result was now one very wet 8 year old boy standing on the beach in his soggy pajamas.   

Very wet, and very happy.

Common sense prevailed as Mike thought of the boy getting a chill, as the last of the sun's rays were disappearing over the watery horizon.   But, God it was beautiful here, he sighed as he laid back upon the sand and stared at up at the darkening sky.   The boys' still excited yelps came from various directions along the shore, as he contemplated just why he had come here with his family.   

He glanced back up the beach and discovered that the women now sat cross-legged in silent meditation.  She had been still a long time.  He sighed again, wondering if he would ever be so calm and centered again.  So lost in thought he was, that he didn't notice the boys shouts and laughter growing gradually more distant, until they were no more.


Body still warm from her series of poses and the glow of the setting sun, Callie did her best to drown out the squeals of laughter and manly shouts coming from the water's edge.  It was tempting to forget her meditation and take a peek at the fun play.  Especially since an earlier peek had revealed that the manly voice belonged to a very tall, and very handsome stranger.  He had an easy way with the boy, Comfortable and good natured; and complete love and adoration.  If he was not the father, surely he was another family member. Better to think the well-toned form was a father - it would be much easier to concentrate on her meditation.  Legs crossed, arms resting on her knees, she closed her eyes.. and began to drift.

Some time later, she was aware that the beach was once more silent, but for the sounds of surf and bird song.  Slowly she opened her eyes and was startled to find a small boy seated, also cross legged in front of her.  His eyes were calmly focused on her, and his smile bright and hopeful.

"Well, hello there." she said.

A shy, quick and almost breathless "hi" was the reply.  

"Are you lost?"

"Nope.. my uncle is just over there." he pointed in the general direction… of the entire beach basically, and she softly chuckled.

"Won't he be worried when he finds you gone?"

A shake of his tiny head, "nah - I think he fell asleep. he was looking at the sky.  he does that. a lot. like A LOT."  

 She held the chuckle in this time, as the sudden torrent of words left a body that had clearly been sitting silent too long. 

"He likes stars and space and stuff.  He's kind of a nerd that way."
She smiled, and raised an eyebrow, recalling the form that certainly didn't seem very nerdish.

"Sooo.  What are you doing here sitting so still and like not talking or even looking at like...nothing?"

She grimaced, as the English teacher in her wanted to build an entire grammar lesson around that one sentence. Instead, she simply gazed into the curious face and replied "meditating."  

At his narrowed look, she continued, "it's like anti-thinking, but not about normal stuff. I am not thinking of all the stuff I have to do, or all the stuff I didn't do, or all the stuff I should be doing. I let all that stuff go, and think about the good things. and be thankful for them. Practice gratitude."

"Like, what kinda good things?" 

"Well, the best way to show you, is to think of some!  Together?"  

She reached out her hands and he took them, a smile splitting his face so that it glowed brighter than the setting sun behind him.  She bite her lip in concentration; where to begin?

And that was the image that Mike slowly and silently came upon as he stood up from his thinking spot, suddenly aware that he could no longer hear Edan playing.  The quick glance to his left revealed the two of them, cross-legged and hands clasped, silhouetted by the dying light.  Their voices barely audible as the wind carried them out over the lapping waves.  He quietly tread upon the sand...

"Okay, one word only: name something that makes you happy. I'll go first: music!"

"ummm, my dog!"  She nodded her approval and the boy beamed with pride.

"Next, name something that makes you sad.."

"but sadness isn't good" the boy interjected.

She tilted her head, "Sadness doesn't have to be bad.  You don't have to fear it, it's okay to be sad about some things. It doesn't mean you are not happy -- you just have a moment of sadness. Moments pass and always turn to something new."  

He considered that lesson very carefully.  Turned it over in his mind, she could tell be the way his tiny brow furrowed and his jaw clenched and unclenched.  Until finally he blurted out: "When my baby sister cries!"

"and why does that make you sad"

"because I want to help her, and I don't know what to do."

"that is a very good answer. It means you have a gentle heart. that you feel for others pain. that's very good thing."   
The boy beamed again, before asking quietly, "what makes you sad?"

"When people are mean to one another. I don't understand because it seems a very easy thing to do, being kind."  The boy nodded his head vigorously.

Where he stood silently watching and listening, Mike felt a burning tug upon his heart, as his eyes suddenly stung with long held back tears.  But the pride for his nephew's answers also swelled his heart, and he longed for the day when he too could share such a moment with a son of his own.  The ache inside for what had almost been, a burning ember he thought he had drowned, burst anew and the fiery pain was almost more than he could bear.   

Choking back a sob, he shifted in his hiding place... and gave himself away.

This photo of Vagabond Temple is courtesy of TripAdvisor

What is the source for Callie's deep calm and contentment?
What is the cause of Mikes' deep pain?
Can the innocence and awe of one one young boy bring them together?
Stay tuned for Part Three coming soon!