Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Swimming and Magic

First of all, at this point swimming is what it's going to be.  I only have 4 more days until I start the challenge, and about all I can do that will really matter here is sleep enough, eat well, and try not to hurt anything.  I haven't actually figured out any sort of schedule for the week itself, but I'm hoping it just sort of comes to me.  I guess what I'm really hoping is that I can manage to stay in the pool for 2 hours at a time some late mornings and get the bulk of it out of the way in that fashion.  I don't have a good solution for counting...and that is truly bad.  But on the whole I think I'm going to make it.  Thanks to everyone who donated (I think I thanked you all individually except maybe the blog reader who gave $100 whose name I don't really want to make super duper public but thank you very much JJ) and now it's about time to watch me struggle :)

Now on to the discussion of the magic.  I spent about 30 hours at the Camp Scherman 45th anniversary this weekend, and while I've heard Danielle simply rave about how awesome the parts of the 23 summers she has spent there have been, I had never really gotten a chance to see it for myself.  I was there in 2004 for about 3 hours, but that didn't really do the job.  I was young and so was she and I hadn't really realized what a huge part of her life it was and most importantly I didn't get the sense of the magic.  And if you don't stop to think about it and just let everything about the place and the people just sort of float by around you as an observer, you will get the distinct impression that something magical is actually happening all around you.  The way people behave.  The way things get done.  The sense of friendship, of caring, of just sort of everything actually seems illogical and impossible.

Of course it's not actually magic;  there is no magic, and that's a sad hard truth in our world.  Danielle pointed out to me that if there is any magic on earth it very likely does exist, at least for her, in that place, and while I sort of agree with her see above re: there is no magic.  If you think about the place and what's happening a little longer you'll realize that what appears to me magic is simply the culmination of 45 years of positive feedback loops doing good things.  The values and ideals of the place, the confidence and happiness it inspires, have combined over the years to make it a one of a kind location for everyone who falls in love with it.  In turn those people pass on all the goodness down to the next generation, and unlike other institutions where the leadership and active involvement lasts just a few short years (and therefore one bad generation can poison the entire establishment) "camp" has lifers.  These people come back again, and again, and again, and each time they do they are even happier to be there, even more confident that THIS RIGHT HERE is in fact the best place on Earth and they try even harder to convince those around them (lifers, newbies, and everyone in between) of that simple and obvious truth.  In other words it's not technically magic, but for all intents and purposes it might as well be.  You cannot bottle it up and you cannot recreate it.  At the very, very most you can think about it, try to understand what makes it the way it is, and learn from it.  Or maybe that's too much;  maybe you're just supposed to drink it in and let it remain a little bit of magic.

I like to think about things, though, and it made me realize that from a lot of points of view a lot of things that happen in the real world do look like magic.  If you just experience something with your logical, reasoning brain turned off then you'll see something magical every single day.  And I guess the point is that while it's good to understand things, sometimes it's better to just let them remain magical.

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