What a funny world we live in. We know so little about ourselves, or the lives of others, just paces from our doors. We know only slightly more about the natural world than they did in medieval times when they believed the stars were singing and medicine was magic.
I love when I discover something new, that has been there all along but I never saw it. I have an anthropological streak in me and I love to learn about new cultures.
Last night I went to visit my friend with her family at a camp ground down the road. It was a festive atmosphere, complete with campfires and Christmas lights. A few people lived there all year round, many had trailer and RVs that occupied a camp site permanently and were quite cute, and snug little homes. My friend and I walked through the camp talking and enjoyed the noise and the laughter and smells of dinner cooking over campfires. I had no idea places like this existed. Children were running around with other children, playing tag under the vapor light at the bathhouse, they were barefoot and care free. No one was seriously concerned that a child would disappear or be hurt by a stranger. My friend's ten year old son decided to cut through the camp grounds on his way back to the family. He was barefoot and didn't want to walk on the gravel road. He went on his own, into the dark, barefoot and happy. Mom didn't blink an eye. She asked him to go straight home and when we arrived he was waiting for us.
It was a cool North Country summer evening. Shorts and a sweatshirt, the perfect combination as long as you wore OFF on your exposed parts. The mosquitos were having a year end feast it seemed.
My friend has 9 children right now. Yes, you read correctly, NINE...Seven are a combination of "his, mine and ours" with her husband and two are being fostered while adoption papers go through. She is amazing. I told her she should write a book about her life. She doesn't think she is amazing. I have never met anyone so fit to be a mother in my life. I don't understand it. I have chosen not to have any (human) children (see Murphy's Blog). But when I walk into the circle of the fire light and three young girls fling themselves at me yelling AUNT GERTI! and hug hug hug and kiss kiss kiss....it is a joy.
Did I mention that her children are amazing? So it isn't just that she has a herd of wild children, but they are tame! They are smart! They are beautiful and polite and kind to each other.
THEY ARE NOT SAINTS. She has had plenty of anxiety and anger and dissappointment, but I tell her all the time how amazed I am by how GOOD her kids are. But I digress.
She took me to the beach. It is pitch black as we walk down a where we looked out over Lake Ontario and the sky looked like a planetarium. It was so big and beautiful, it was almost like it couldn't be real. It was so black and so filled with stars - it brought to mind the image of a bowl filled with diamonds. Isnt' there a Native American story about the bowl of stars turned upside down? When we went back to the campsite, it was time for a bite to eat and her lovely husband cooked cheeseburgers and kielbasa on the grill. Why is food cooked outdoors always more delicious?
It was a great night and I told her next year I want to sleep over with them. She said I said that LAST year! I laughed at myself...so now I will prepare fo the next time. I will get an air mattress and a sleeping bag and a folding chair...do I need a tent? We shall see. It would be nice to have an air mattress and be able to sleep out on the porch too. YUM!