Dear Boundless Families:
Both outdoor crews set sail long ago. Sat phone silence is a blessing, so I can only conjure what is happening right now with each intrepid crew.
The juniors are engaged on the first day of their descent, with a 6:00am wake-up, and breaking their Lac Benoit campsite at 8:00. It is these two hours where the real learning happens. Whenever you have an event where rising, eating, packing, cleaning, bowel emptying, pot scrubbing, weight distributing, muscle loosening and havoc-avoiding among a group of kids with baby’s brains and old men’s hearts (free t shirt to anyone identifying that quote), you get a scenario where kids mature fast. This morning they reckoned with 13 rapids, the most notorious being “canoe-eater” – a nasty piece of work that has earned its reputation with ruthless efficiency. The water level is low, so if you dump your canoe, you face the unfortunate possibility of enduring a rock laden enema. Tonight they camp below Little Steel Falls, and will fall asleep to the lull of the rapids, probably playing a round of murder or mafia before bedtime. While the juniors have to be checked from time to time, like any self respecting group of pubescent marauders, the juniors are most extraordinary in their cohesion, lust for novelty and unfailing energy. Like, really.
The seniors did the aforementioned stretch yesterday, and judging by their radio silence, proctology services were not necessary. Today, after contending with Big Steel rapids, they will float along a 5km stretch of really easy rapids that wind there way around some striking eskers (free colonoscopy to anyone who can define that term). What often happens is that kids start jumping out of their boats to body-float that stretch, and when the sun shines – likely doing so today – and gravity becomes your friend, it is a timeless moment of exquisite abandon. The float culminates in 20 foot light waterfall, a chance rarely passed up to shower and get rid of the stink. I join the seniors in two days as they navigate Red Pine Rapids, my first return to the Riv since a December knee replacement. I am chomping at the bit, notwithstanding the dire admonitions from my gal and mother of my very own teenage terrorists. I will get dig up some good gossip on this cohort for you upon my return.
As to English, or, should I say, the country club of learning. I know I had a part in creating this English program, but my God, school was never like this when you and I were acne prone. I am positively green with envy. I love popping by every late afternoon – a their daily allotment of writing time. Emma always finds a spot on the deck, dutifully tapping away at her laptop, backdropped by the Madawaska mountains, looking like she is an incarnation of Buddha because she has attained pure Zen consciousness. The classroom is blurting out Bob Marlee, their essay writing musician of choice. When they finish, they hop in the sauna, or play a spot of ping pong. Really tough going aint it.
The English seniors just adore each other. Georgio utters his daily offering of inanities, Jack 70’s hairstyle can’t hide the perma-smile on his face. Mahri and the gals are forever preening – don’t they know its the wilderness!!?? This group just adores each other. I do not embellish when I predict that most of them have already made a friend for life. They wink and nod and smile their sheepish grins when I suggest that, “hey, this place is really chill”. It appears there is some kind of goodwill conspiracy happening here. They have discovered some secret of attaining equilibrium, and ya gotta be an insider to find it out.
The English juniors are, shall we say, a more eclectic lot. Jocks, geeks, musicians, artistes, shy, bold, meek and aggressive – they are an organic tableau of our races virtues and vice. Its taken them a little longer to gel than the others, but this only heightens their sense of accomplishment, because they are figuring it out. They too have the reek of clubbing about them now, and the place is morphing into an uber-chill. I see them doing odd things like taking strike-the-pose type photos of themselves holding hand-made weapons.
Parents, this English Chill is about to end. Their worlds are about to be turned upside down. The Zombies are truly coming.
I love this session, gosh darn it.