Crawl into quiet

Poetry is everywhere, I tell my young students. On cereal boxes, billboards, advertisements. Look to road signs, announcements, sidewalks. Search your lives, I say, in the quiet space life expands.

I spent last week in a summer camp that combined outdoor adventures with writing activities. Every day offered field trips with opportunities to reflect and write. We explored spaces and places, by turns busy and giddy, quiet and thoughtful.

We walked the span of a historic bridge, hiked from forest to sea, strolled through a working bayfront, kayaked a bay, and bicycled around town.

Between hikes, bikes, walks and talks, we played poetry poker, wrote on rocks and shells, collected words, and made fruit verse (or, as Ian wrote on his banana peel, “We created edible poetry.”)

Though the week was full of laughs and adventure, we also made room for quiet. We invited our minds to question and wander.

Rayn, 11, wondered why firetrucks are red. Is red, she wrote, the color of trust?

While hiking, Ian, 12, heard nature talking:

The trees make secrets and gossip
as we admire their beauty.

While kayaking for the first time, Kala, 13, reveled in the stillness:

When you bottom out
all you can do is push with your paddle,
or hands, or your mind.

The sound of the birds,
mixed with the beautiful beating hot sky
is almost enough to put you to sleep.

When you catch the breeze you feel fresh.

When you stop to take it all in and close your eyes
you feel like it is all a dream. At any moment you
could wake up and it would be gone.

Between the busy adventures, the Summer Camp Writers crawled into quiet to find beauty tucked around and within them. And I, grateful and encouraged, applauded their every word.