Sunday, January 04, 2004

Camp Harmony

I'm back. Got back early this afternoon, actually, but just gradually unpacking, washing clothes, and getting around to blogging. I've got a few pictures up on buzznet right now (more coming tomorrow, since there's a limit on daily uploads) but dotphoto is being funky and not letting me upload stuff, so I'm gong to try that again later. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have, but there are still a couple good ones in there. [Update: dotphoto pictures are now up.]

Camp was really small this year, which was sort of sad. I especially missed Mom and Lacey -- it's just not quite the same without them. Luckily I love being around the rest of my extended camp family though.

At the beginning of the week, people were making all sorts of nervous noises about storms and flooding and whatnot, but the weather actually worked out pretty well. It rained all day on the second day, but cleared up beautifully after that. It's amazing watching the forest in rainy weather, though. Within just a few hours, paths and hillsides everywhere turn into little creeks and streams, all rushing down to the river. It's kind of a pain to wade around in, even with boots on, but Cass pointed out that it's really a beautifully efficient system. The whole forest just instantly mobilizes itself to get rid of all the excess water. It's great.

I taught a series of four music theory classes again this year, and I think they went pretty well, considering I hadn't prepared for them as much. They were pretty small, but it was a good little group of people. I had several repeat customers from last year, though, which worried me a bit, even though they were very enthusiastic about my teaching. So I tried to focus more on how to actually use music theory in practice, so maybe they'll get it to stick in their heads more during the upcoming year. That way, we could do some more interesting stuff next year.

I also ended up teaching a polka class with Quena, instead of the cross-step waltz I had done the last couple years. That was okay. I think I like teaching music more than dance at camp, though. We all did another iteration of our Stupid Human Tricks workshop, as well, which was a success again. Katie and Jessica brought us some new ones that involved falling through the floor and floating arms. Anselm showed us how to make a finger disappear. Quena and I also discovered how to get up out of the Crab Walk without just collapsing. Very cool.

Once again, I spent a lot more time dancing than playing music overall. The swing night was a really good one. It's usually kind of tricky dancing swing there, because most people don't know Lindy Hop, which is what I mostly do, but I think that was a good thing for this particular night. Not being able to just mindlessly do all my usual steps kept me really paying attention to my partners and also being more creative about figuring out new things that I could do. So that was pretty neat.

I should mention that during most of the dances, and a number of jam sessions as well, Steven (age 9) had his fiddle out and was playing along with the band. He doesn't know many tunes yet, but he'll just sit there and try to work out whatever they happen to be playing. Swing, contra, Balkan, anything. And he's really serious and intent on figuring things out, too -- he's not just goofing around. It's amazing. He still doesn't play anything very well (he's only 9, after all) but everyone is just so impressed that they let him join in and do whatever he can. At this rate, he's going to be a major prodigy very soon.

The contra dance on the last evening was a bit of a fiasco. It was supposed to start at 11:00, after the French dance, but the organizer didn't know he was supposed to be organizing it and we had no musicians. So for a while we had a bunch of dancers milling around on the floor for a while, and a bunch of kids playing out on the dance floor. Since it looked like nobody was going to show up, I finally went and got my mandolin, stood out in the middle of the floor so people could hear me, and played a jig for people to polka to. Then Steven got his fiddle and joined me to play a waltz. Then we got out some microphones, brought in Anselm with his bodhran, and did an actual contra. It's really hard to carry an entire contra just on mandolin (prodigy or no, I still have to block Steven out a bit to keep on the tune). But it was a short dance and we made it. Lani came in afterwards to help out on another contra, and we did a number of waltzes after that, so we did manage to salvage a bit of dancing out of the evening. Yay!

Other fun Harmony moments:
- Quena spiking her hair for New Year's Eve.
- Music jokes in the kitchen (three bags of lettuce going into two bowls: a salad hemiola!)
- David singing Christmas in the Trenches.
- Playing spoons (not quite as violently exciting as with the Dickersons, but still very fun).
- Getting worn out before a contra dance playing chase on an empty dance floor with Sophia and Jodie (both about 5 years old).
- Origami elephants and kissing penguins.
- Learning French Canadian tunes from Laurie.
- The Canote brothers singing very sillily.
- Charlie and Catherine reciting most of Finding Nemo over the course of a few different meals.
- Working on Cass' lunch shifts in the kitchen.
- Kitchen chanties.
- Lani's bagpipe song.
- Yael, in the first few hours of 2004: "This is a leap year -- so you know what we have to do now, right? Redowa!"
- All the New Year's waltzes, including Gary playing the waltz from Bread and Tulips and Jim playing the schottische-waltz.
- Bob Reid's Kid's Concert and the Bean Story.
- Getting to spend some time with Quena before she goes off to spend the entire year in Costa Rica (goodbyes were sad, though).

My angel card for this year is Faith. Last year at this time I got Joy, and 2003 did indeed turn out to be a far more joyful year than 2002 for me. Abundance, which I got on my birthday, has also been manifested in a lot of ways, not the least of which was getting my first full-time job. It will be interesting to see how Faith develops this year.

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