We were lucky enough this weekend to be able to head up to Ely (pron: "elee" for all of you non-Minnesotans) again for a long weekend at Camp Du Nord.
As was the case last summer, it was so incredibly peaceful and connecting and spiritual to be able to get away that far north, to focus on each other and to enjoy nature. The camp is located on an incredible lake (Burnside) to its east and amazing hiking and skiing trails to its west, all along the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
I was completely regretting our reservations on Thursday, the day we made the 4.5 hour trek to the Northland because I had traveled to and from the SOUTHERN part of the state that very day, and the kids both had colds.
On the way up, Big sneezed into his arm and exclaimed "I have some bless-you on my shirt!!"
Once we were there, though, I remembered why we had done it. There is just something about taking time away from your home and your regularly scheduled activities that creates a space to open up, relax, and focus.
It's not just that though. The camp surrounds you with like-minded-people who are there to do the same, and that shared experience creates something bigger than the sum of its parts.
The camp also inadvertently teaches the kids values that we just can't do all on our own. The camp is run by an incredibly committed staff that go out of their way to make your stay special, and we found out on the last day that, due to budgetary reasons, they volunteered their time for the entire weekend.
It was amazing to tell Nine this after she had kvetched her way through the end-of-weekend cleanup process at which she balked at doing the recycling, earning her the job of cleaning up the bathroom as well, which she clearly thought that she was above.
There is always time to teach humility, and if we can't do it, life certainly will.