Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vacation Awaits

Every year, there seems to be a bit of a struggle to line up enough teachers to accompany the Juniors on their School Without Walls excursion, a four-day (3 night) hiking trip in the mountains of Western Tokyo.  This doesn't surprise me, but it does make me a little sad.  I can understand the reaction that so many have when asked if they are willing to spend the better part of a week outside hiking and camping--there's much that simply will not be comfortable or luxurious.

And yet... for those who decline, it is a colossal missed opportunity.  For me, it is an opportunity to rest and relax.  Yes--those are two of the first verbs that come to mind when I think of Wilderness Camp, and they are likely just the opposite of what most who avoid Wilderness Camp would expect of the experience.

Perhaps a lot of this feeling has to do with my background: Being from the countryside, I never once expected to live in a big city, let alone one of the biggest cities in the world.  Yet, here I am, and I love it.  I always imagined that I'd feel confined and claustrophobic living in the city, and that I'd long for fresh air to fill my lungs, or for the color green to sprout from the concrete field before me.  The truth is, I don't even think about the lack of space, the possibility of air pollution or the fact that the color green is underrepresented.  I don't think about these things, that is, until I leave the city--I guess I'm getting better at being content with where I am.  For whatever reason, the stresses, worries and sometimes-hectic pace of my job do not follow me out of the city.  It doesn't matter if I'm sleeping on concrete in a rainstorm, or putting in long days of hiking--being in the woods feels like a vacation.  The prep I need to do and the papers I need to grade have not disappeared, but they stayed behind... in the woods, in the moment, there are only the most fundamental tasks of hiking, preparing meals, and supervising the Juniors as they learn firsthand about servant-leadership.

As I take a break to write this from a work-load that seems tonight to be insurmountable, I can't help but look forward to getting out of the city and hiking hills that, while challenging, I know can be conquered.

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