We spent five days in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at Camp Highlands Family Camp last week. It was just about the best vacation ever. We ate really well, had a cozy cabin all to ourselves, and spent our days kayaking, canoeing, hiking, archery, swimming, boating, paddle boarding, climbing on the low ropes course, and playing softball, basketball, and gaga ball. We also saw (and heard!) loons and bald eagles.
Juliette loved the low ropes best. That kid can scramble up a wall and rappel down like a pro. This video was taken her first day, when she was getting lessons on the rope wall. She moved on to the rock wall lickety-split.
I tried it, too. I do not have nearly the skills as my six-year-old. I could hardly heave myself up the wall and then when it was time to rappel down, I learned something new about myself: I am a hysterical laugher when facing a particular kind of fear. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
Camp Highlands is owned by church members, and over the years lots of members of our church and community have gone to Family Camp or sent their boys to the regular season camp. It was special to be in a place that is so special to so many we know and love. It definitely felt like sacred ground, especially the spot near our cabin where a tree honors the memory of the beloved son of dear church members, and a plaque bears the benediction of the late Rev. Bob Kemper.
The last night the girls got a little crazy in the cabin. I wish I'd gotten a video of the dance they were dancing and the shrieks they were shrieking while they danced.
One of the best parts (other than the fact that they had a babysitter that both girls adored) was that we had little to no internet access. When I did log on briefly, I was inundated with bad news. The connection dropped out before I could find out what happened in Ferguson, MO, so I prayed generic prayers for a few days. I'm feeling that groundhog impulse to run back to the woods, to disconnect, to opt out of the internet altogether. I can't, for better or for worse. And there is obviously something to be said for knowing what's going on in the world, of not choosing to be ignorant. But.
As we drove away from Camp Highlands, we listened to Mary Gauthier's beautiful, haunting song, "Mercy Now." It was just the song we needed to ferry us away from a place of deep grace to a world that is in deep need of grace.