Control, Alt, CAMP

by Nola

We spent the weekend at our friends’ fishing camp.  Just the three of us.  We woke early and dropped the crab nets in the water.  The tide was out and the expectation of crabs was slim. Sun and I also tossed fishing lines into the water.  Then we headed to Rip Van Winkle Gardens, having seen a sign for it driving in the day before and noting the good reviews of it online. It was divine. Really. It was lush and breezy; there were peacocks and cats. We three roamed around and thought not of whatever worries we each have back home.

We returned to the camp and crabbed and fished some more. We didn’t catch a thing. But that wasn’t the point to begin with. Heck, Sun’s fishing pole is a Dora one that has a plastic fish at the end of the line. Sun just likes casting her line and reeling it in. Over and over. And me? I’m happy when I don’t snag a tree or an underwater log.

And then there were the gators. Three this time. One teeny baby and two bigger ones. They bobbed around, keeping their chocolate eyes on us the entire time. And when I released the one good-sized crab we caught, Sun learned a lesson when the biggest alligator slyly made her way over to the crab and ate him: Sun doesn’t want a gator as a pet because they eat too much.

We are different at the camp. Sure, there’s still whining and correcting; there’s still ways to annoy each other. But that bar is certainly raised. We are permitted to do nothing; spend all day crabbing with nothing in the way of dinner to show for it; run in circles around trees for no reason other than the sheer enjoyment of it; have staring contests with alligators of all sizes. The expectations are gone — all the home projects waiting for us that we get caught up about living in the said home? Benched. The day-to-day annoyances that come with cohabitation? Iced. At the camp, it’s freestyle. Do as you please. There is no judging.

Back home, Sun is adamant about wearing shoes. And socks. She wakes up and wants both on here feet first thing. And she keeps them on until bath time and then bed. On sandals, she says: I don’t want my toes to get full of leaves. So all year round, even NOLA summers, that kid has shoes and socks on. All. The. Time.

Except yesterday. She ran around outside, where there are burrs in the grass and gravel strips near the piers, in her bare feet. It’s unthinkable. If we’d have even suggested sandals, she’d have said no. But she decided for herself that it was a bare-foot kind of day.

And, oh, was she right.

We’ll return to the city and to that house that has an endless list of needed updates. We’ll return to the day-to-day annoyances, I am sure, and to having to wear shoes and socks ’round the clock. Except we are changed. We are rejuvenated, relaxed, and recharged. We are ready again to open our hearts just a little bit more and allow more love to flow in and out.

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