Summer is a festival unto itself. It’s essential to have time to change gears and do things differently for a while. I’m lucky to be a part of a community that has so much going on; the wonderful concerts, the theater in the park, the storytelling at the library. Living here gives me such a sense of abundance. It’s never a question of “what can we do?” but only of “which would we like to choose?” It’s ironic to me that the phrase is used as a fast food slogan, because I think of Culver City as an old fashioned sort of feast. “I love this place.”
Part of the culture of vacation is travel, and in that I am equally lucky. There a camp in the San Bernadino Mountains that is our home away from home, and for the last two summers, I have spent every possible moment there. The site is delightful. Six thousand feet up, the trees are tall and green, and the sense of peace that fills me there is unique. This year is a milestone, and De Benneville Pines will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Thursday, July 28. A major feast is planned, and I consider myself fabulously fortunate to be a part of it.( Are you DeB alumni? Feast on Thursday- email Janet James-you should come!)
When I was invited to teach yoga for “Family Camp” last year, it was a life saver. Not my favorite little wintergreen candy, but the one that they toss out as a floater when you are drowning. I was in the 17th month of my 18 month long divorce, and at that point, I had no idea if or when it was ever going to end. My ex-husband’s refusal to move out or negotiate anything had me feeling like a citizen of Stalingrad during the siege. My usually deep resources of mental health and good humor were so spent, I was empty. It was mile 24 of the marathon. The chance to be somewhere else was like manna from heaven. To the mountains, to DeBenneville, to teach yoga? Yes, please.
As a part of the staff, there were meetings to attend, and structures to organize. My dear friend Tom is proud to be considered the honorary ‘mayor of DeBenneville’, and he gave me some sage advice. Tom is always pleased to walk the perimeter of the camp, savoring the energy of the place, and he reminded me to sing. I remembered how to sing. My wonderful Amy, who is the dean in charge of the week, kept us all talking and connecting. I talked, I listened, it felt like a language I had forgotten I was fluent in. The amazing Matthew started us off with the question “How do we create community?” By the end of the week, there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd as we met to say goodbye. To be a part of that was beautiful. I felt like we had been adopted into a new family.
Teaching yoga offered lots of little power surges, when someone would sit next to me at breakfast or stop me walking up the stairs and say “I loved your class! I have not felt this good in ages!” It was healing in ways the word ‘healing’ can hardly describe. Teachers really live for those moments, when students get enthused.
So this week is a kind of homecoming. Where I had gone last year, exhausted and in despair, I get to return in health and happiness. While I have not yet found answers to all of my questions, I have answered enough of them that I can put my pencil down and stare out the window for a bit. Look at the tall pines, listen to the breeze blowing, and and just be.
When we get back, there will be more concerts, more theater and more fun with all of our Culver City friends. I’ll be back with all my regular yoga classes, and in the studio. Writing more, and commenting on life in the city. One of the best parts of traveling is coming home again. To have more than one place to call home, it is glorious in ways the word ‘glorious’ can only begin to reflect.
Summer is my favorite festival; at least until autumn arrives.