We watch the sun set on our first night on the lake. We sit, cross-legged and in a line, on the rickety wooden dock. We are strangers, hailing from all the corners of the world. A motor boat buzzes through the water in the distance. The little waves rise and fall and make their way to us. The dock creeks and gently rocks back-and-forth. Pink and gold paint the moments between day and night. The moon is starting to glow. And as the remnants of the sun fade away, so do all of my worries.
I've been away for a while, but something about autumn always brings me back to my blog. As a time of change, fall is a period of reflection for me. One of my favorite quotes perfectly embodies the spirit of the season:
Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
School is back in session and life is busy as ever, but my blog is always a safe space for me to come back to. As a little escape, I'm going to start a series on my summer adventures. Vignettes, poems, snapshots, musings, or whatever it may be. My little corner for creativity. Come away with me...
In the months of July and August, I spent some time in British Columbia, working as a facilitator at the Global Leadership Academy. Our program invited middle and high school students from around the world to a small boarding school located on the beautiful shores of Shawnigan Lake, where we taught workshops, hosted motivational speakers and took service learning trips around Vancouver Island, all in preparation for students to work on their Dream Project, in which they would design and lead a passion project to serve their communities in a meaningful way. Up at Shawnigan Lake, it was the first time in a long while that I was able to take my time to be present. Without service, I found myself going entire days without looking at my phone and allowed my self to disconnect. Instead, I dedicated my time to getting to know the people and the places around me. We took the students to volunteer at Woodwynn Farms, an organic farm and therapeutic community for those who have suffered from homelessness and addiction. We cut lavender and wrapped the flowers in bundles tied with twine. We watered the gardens and cleared roads overgrown with invasive species. We also volunteered at Our Place, a community center and home for the most vulnerable populations of Greater Victoria, where we handed out fruit cups and lemonade. A man told us his story, from growing up as a victim of domestic violence and turning to drugs to mask the pain since he was a child, to finding a home in Our Place and now, navigating the world upon recently moving into his own apartment...Writing his story in this piece does not do it justice. What can we do to help those who need it most?
Remember the smell of lavender.Remember the legends of deep sea creatures told by a young girl from Klemtu.
The fresh water weeds tickling our feet when we swam across the lake.Remember names. Remember faces.
Remember the drop in your stomach when you swung through the trees, 60 feet in the air.
When you put too many Oreos in your bagged lunch. Remember Morning Coffee and late nights playing Uno.
Remember to be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.
Remember to listen. Be patient.
Remember the mosquito jokes. What has six legs, bites and talks in code?
Remember the summer. Savor it.