I spent the weekend with Friends in the woods at Northern Yearly Meeting. Kiara’s the Quaker in the family; I just tag along for the good parties. Since my beliefs and values are very much in line with the Quakers, I’d attend Twin Cities Friends Meeting with Kiara were my time in meeting not overwhelmed by a voice in my head screaming “THIS IS WRONG THIS IS WRONG GET OUT GET OUT NOW!” I take that as a message that I shouldn’t be there. :-) But I do go to NYM with her and the kids.
I value this weekend as a rare opportunity to enjoy long stretches of contemplative silence — among those who do not question the value of silence.
This year NYM was again at the Wisconsin Lions Camp, in a quiet, wooded area northeast of Stevens Point. Attendees have the option of sharing a cabin, which we did last year, or tenting in the woods, our choice this year. We arrived after dark, stumbling through the woods to find somewhere to pitch our tent, vainly trying to hush Owen so as not to wake others around us. Pretty comical in retrospect. We set up the tent a ways back in the woods from the camp, only to discover in the morning that we’d walked right past the main tent area. Still, we liked being in the woods: it was quieter, and I liked seeing the night sky through swaying pine trees. The boys slept well in the tent, not even waking up during the violent thunderstorm that swept through and sent many of the other tenters scurrying inside.
Owen spent his mornings in child care, playing with other kids his age. It tuckered him out so he would sleep soundly if we could get him too nap. On Sunday, he wouldn’t nap so I took him for a walk around the lake. He made it halfway around before asking me to carry him, and fell asleep in my arms 5 minutes later. Let’s just say I got my workout this weekend, although not one that my chiropractor would approve.
Kiara wasn’t able to attend much of the business meetings (Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business; the Quaker decision-making process is fascinating) because she had Alec in the infant/toddler care, but we’re working on a way to change that next year. And she did discover that she likes sacred harp and shape note singing (not sure if there’s a difference).
And me? When I wasn’t establishing that no, we hadn’t lost the keys, they were locked in the car, I was either in the woods on a walk around the lake, or playing with Owen. It was a good weekend.
30 May 2006 Sam comments off