After a little over a week in California, I came home to my favorite kind of mail: film scans. There were a few family events and travels from over the last year on the various rolls, but my favorite was from just a few weeks ago. It was a day planned by my mom inspired by matching enamel camp mugs I bought for us at Christmas. The day was warmÂ (by Wisconsin winter standards) and my mom, brother, and I spent the morning hiking the Ice Age Trail in Potawatomi Park,Â Door County. After a few hours we stopped in the shelter house, gathered wood, and built a fire. The flames warmed the space as mom carved toasting forks and Josh fed the fire. We made pudgy pies and hot cocoa on the open flame, and, as is true anytime you work for your food, it tasted like the best lunch ever.
My mom is a Girl Scout. I mean this beyond the simple fact that she was a Girl Scout as a child and led my troop as an adult. It is a fact exceedingÂ membership inÂ a club, and is more like an embodiment of the ideals of what a Girl Scout is and should be. She is courageous, empathetic, and welcoming of new ideas. She is determined when it comes to tasks and skilled at nearly everything that involves theÂ outdoors. Each summer we pitch our little tent, develop elaborate camp menus (with at least three “fuel methods” in classic Girl Scout style), and spend a few days in a state park hiking or biking or kayaking, or playing cards as the rain pours down outside. And even when it rains, even when the canopy tent gathers gallons of water that we have to empty in torrents and the entire weekend is spent in humid ponchos and muddy shoes, it is the best. Mom is the person literally laughing in the rainstorm – eternally optimistic and ready for every kind of adventure (even the ones that don’t go as planned). And this rubs off on others, calling out the it-has-to-go-as-planned-ersÂ (like me), opening us up to aÂ little more explorationÂ and a little more grace.
After our shelter house lunch was cleaned up and the fire was put out, we met Ben and dad out on the bayÂ where they had spent the morning ice fishing. We brought along a thermos of cider, a propaneÂ stove, and all the fixings to fry up their catch right on the ice. The horizon grew hazy in that pre-sunset foggy glow as we headed backÂ with another adventure in the books, inspired, as always, by mom.