I'm back from the annual school camping trip - annual for me, at least. Some people go on more than one trip per year with different classes, but this is my sole commitment. I tend to feel conflicted about the trip, as it's usually tons of fun, offering a variety of activities, such as a ropes course and surfing, and a great setting, but it is also exhausting - precisely because of the activities and the setting. I return from it feeling either windburned or sunburned or both and physically tired after late nights (for me) and long days spent outside.
This year, everything about the trip went smoothly - kids were great and the weather was perfect (not too hot, not crazy wind, sunny and pretty mild), so I have nothing to complain about. After all, the trip the did showcase plenty of highlights. Perhaps more importantly, the trip offers a moment to get away from work and life - while still working - and think about the year, about the students whom I teach and the school where I work. It also, for me, signals that the year is drawing to a close. There are many endings to the year and this is merely one of them, but it might be my favorite moment to spend time with colleagues and students and reflect on the year. Nothing like early morning walks to the beach to appreciate life.
Even with all of the excitement and beauty, I fully welcomed the return trip home yesterday. On cue, June gloom appeared yesterday morning - after days of lovely mornings, low clouds gathered around the campground and hills and hid the coast, which made it a perfect day to run, even with a creaky knee. And then I was more than ready to return home. Upon crossing the threshold of our house, I dumped out all of my dirty clothes (or all the clothes that I took with me which were dirty, whether I wore them or not), showered and took a nap in a comfortable bed. Civilization at its best!
This weekend, despite grading and school obligations, like graduation, has felt like the beginning of summer. It is a bit warm in these parts, but the morning sun did not welcome us until almost noon - probably because we went to Malibu for an early, open water swim (me) and a fantastic ride on the coast (both of us). I almost bailed out on both of those when, as we were driving north on PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu, the rain started to spit down on us. Yes, I would be getting wet for the swim, but a cold, wet ride did not appeal. Despite those reservations, we were both happy that we ventured west on an early-ish Saturday morning and stuck to the plan. After the ride, we hit Lilly's, a place that we discovered a few years ago just by chance and return about once a year. The breakfast burrito hit the spot - we split one and I'm sad to say that I wolfed my half down in about 2 minutes. While I had to return home to grade exams, it was a wonderful Saturday morning and made me feel that summer is here, whether the calendar says it is or not.
For us, the summer will be busy with visiting friends and family and traveling near and far, depending on one's definition of those distances. I am also daydreaming of afternoon naps, plenty of reading, hikes and walks and afternoon cocktails. The months are full of promise, yet a part of me already senses that the months will pass too quickly.
Still, before the days grow short again, cheers to summer!