YOU PUT YOUR RIGHT ARM IN AND YOU S.H.A.K.E. IT ALL ABOUT!!!
YOU DO THE HOKEY POKEY AND YOU TURN YOURSELF AROUND,
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!!!”
I’m downstairs cleaning up the kitchen from dinner before we leave for our bi-annual camping trip to Cape Hatteras.
That sing chanting? That’s my 8 year old in the shower upstairs. She’s singing the song we adopted at Hatteras to convince ourselves to place body part by body part in the cold shower.
Hey, they’ve got knobs now at least. When I was a kid going there, I had to steal myself to pull.the.cord to dump the cold water upon myself.
I would scream bloody murder to the point that my mother – not at all prone to bribery in the day to day of my childhood – would offer me FOUR Oreo cookies if I got through it without alerting the entire campground to my sentiments about said shower.
Clearly Nora has evolved my genetics in this way. She sings instead. (Yet she also asks for the cookies.)
Now let me tell you a little more about Hatteras.
This place has wisdom to share.
I love camping at Hatteras because it reminds me of things.
Not just the things from my childhood. (Uh, pull-cord showers.)
My first time camping there was before I could walk or talk or write in this magic of word song.
Hatteras helps me re-remember things.
The balm of ice water in scorching mid-afternoon summer; the thin mattress in our pop-up trailer when the twilight has set in and the cicadas are deafening; chasing the shade during afternoon siestas at camp. The pain that someone inevitably feels from a prickly pear cactus picked up in their foot or a bee they ran into on their scooter. The squadrons of dragonflies, dive booming to eat all the mosquitos that materialize from last week’s standing water. The racoon that pops his head up out of the thicket to check-out whether you left any food scraps. The teeny, tiny frogs in the outdoor showers. (Yes, those showers.) The deluge of rain that lets loose when the sky can hold no more. The seagulls circling above you on the campground hill high above the blue waters. The opening your eyes to the sun breaking the day. The moonlit walks to the bathroom down the hill from your campsite. The sharp winds whipping the sand across the beach and stinging your legs.
This land is raw and real.
It sounds miserable to so many people. They tend to ask me, “Why would you do that? Why don’t you just stay in a house?” Or, “Well, do you at least have air conditioning in your tent trailer?”
Nope. No, I don’t.
Because this place and how we do it reminds me of a biggest thing.
Like there’s not enough, never enough.
When there is. There is plenty. And more.
Right here and right now.
Wherever here and now may be.
(Why must we learn that? Deeply learn that? Ah… what we feel is what we see is what we know. And what we know is what we create more of and so…)
Are there unknowns in life?
I won’t lie.
There are infinite unknowns.
It all could fall to shit in a second.
But it hasn’t. Yet.
Or it has.
A million trillion times and counting over and over again, it all falls apart.
But that’s the star stuff, you see.
Because if you’ve got the room to fret and worry, then this moment has something good in it.
Something, even if it’s teeny tiny is baked in that is beautiful.
It can be so hard to see.
Which is why we get to train ourselves to see the good, the possibility, the “what’s next?” wonder of it all.
In the midst of the hard and the hurt, we have to try.
Because the world needs us to try. To pause and re-remember over and over
To experience life in a way of gratitude, grace, wonder, beauty.
Even as it might chew you up. It spits you out to see,
That’s what I get to do at Cape Hatteras.
That’s what I wish for all of us in whatever we’re doing.
The space to pause,
the space to ponder,
the space to re-remember,
Take good care,