Camp is a Pure Land

At the beginning of this month, I had the chance to take my wife and children to the camp I grew up going to and worked at during summer breaks during college. The camp is called Cedarkirk and it’s loosely Scottish for “church in the trees.” A lot of my friends from my hometown church, and my camp days were coming back to join me, and introduce their families to Cedarkirk. It was a remarkable homecoming.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive about how much my wife would enjoy it. When given the choice, there was never a debate with her about whether to “rough it” or choose air conditioning and a hot shower. Her susceptibility to bug bites and the quarter-sized welts they leave for days convinced me not to push the extreme camping adventure with her any time soon.    
But at the first night at camp, we met in a hallway after getting the kids to bed. We embraced and she told me, “I get it. I understand why. There is no ego here.”   

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“Welcome to REI!”

“We are being trained to commodify our own impulses so that everything can be translated into a purchase.”

Russel Brand

[preface: Full disclosure, I am a member of the REI coop. I’ve participated in Spartan races, and I’ve planned trips around athletic “adventures.” Yes, I am part of the problem. This blog  post is directed to me, too.]


One source of consist restorative energy I’ve found has been nature. Even during my very limited days during recovery I would sit and watch the wind blow through the branches of trees through the window for 30 to 45 minutes and enjoy it like a movie. Better still was enjoying a meal and an audiobook outside. Usually breakfast but sometimes lunch as well. We have a covered, screened deck and it makes sitting and eating outside easy and enjoyable. I still do these activities, although the summer heat has made meals on the deck a bit less pleasurable but it’s worth it. 


Taking a walk around the neighborhood or walking with my brother on the Swamp Rabbit Trail downtown have been restorative activities that take me away from screens and insert me back into life itself. 


Nature is divine. Not in the sense that nature is magic. And not in a way that implies pantheism (God is nature). Rather, nature is divine in a panentheism way (the belief that God is greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it). 

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