Neither Here nor There

When, during Staff Week, the Director of Camp Ramah Darom explained the new system for accessing the wifi network, he also spoke a bit about the importance of our being present at camp without the distractions of social media, texting, etc.  I didn’t think much about it at that moment. I didn’t realize that I would return to this question of how best to “be present” time and again throughout my five weeks at camp.

A few weeks into the camp session, my spouse and I were talking—while my wifi connection is temperamental, my cell phone connection is not bad, at least in my room—and we were reminiscing about the days before AT&T built a tower in the mountains. We used to have an arranged time for me to call him—on a landline, using a pre-paid calling card. It’s not surprising that we’ve spoken more this summer than in previous ones. I am surprised, though, by how much I feel torn between a desire to be home with my two daughters and a need to be focused on my work at camp.

Usually, I am able to be present at camp by remaining relatively disconnected from home and from events in the “real world.” This summer has been the exception that proves the rule: for the first time in ten years, not only did I not have any visitors from home at camp, but I also drove all the way home on two separate occasions to spend my day off with my daughters.

Maybe it’s because two-thirds of my children are home this summer, leaving only one-third of them at camp, or maybe it’s because world events are more intrusive this year. Maybe it’s because I left more work “on hold” while I was away. I’m not sure that any single explanation can account for my feeling neither here nor there.

Maybe this summer’s particular challenge is to be present neither here nor there. For the next five days, I’ll try to be present in each moment, and to remember that these camp moments will not come again for another year.

house in winter

fog rising panaroma



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