Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

back to camp ~

A room of more than 40 women, aged 18 – 75. Or more. Talking, laughing loudly, yelling in delight over a good hand of cards… This is Camp Waluhili, and the Becoming an Outdoor Woman weekend workshop. There are well over 100 women enrolled in canoeing, blacksmithing, archery, Dutch oven cooking, and arts & crafts from screen printing to letterboxing. It’s beyond amazing.

SaturdayI learned how to make food in a Dutch oven. GOOD food — BEAUTIFUL food (cranberry orange scones, I’m talking about you). Lunch was totally unnecessary afterwards: who wants okay tacos when you just feasted on apple tart and monkey bread and corned beef hash and…? :)


After lunch, it was off to screenprinting. We still have to actually ink the shirts (the lights here don’t have UV, and there’s no sun during this rainy foggy weather), but I have a lovely raven & bee to go!

Sunday? Birding 101. Did you know that turkey buzzards fly w/ their wings vaguely in a V, while raptors (which most of us like to look at, compared to buzzards…) fly with wings held relatively straight? Yeah, me neither… That’s useful!

And here’s the clincher: it’s all women. There’s no way to explain just how free that makes the interactions. No one bothers about makeup (well, maybe a few…:)). Showers aren’t in the early morning unless you feel like it, and ball caps sub for blow-outs. It’s beyond comfortable & free.


That’s my point: you need time to be as much yourself as you can be comfortable with. And given the current sexual axis in so much of contemporary culture, it’s nice — at least sometimes — to just chill w/ your buds. Your girlfriends. Whoever lets you have a hat day w/out giving you grief.

Plus, it’s outside. There’s something brain-clearing about being outdoors, even when it’s rainy, windy, and so overcast that the photo-sensitive emulsion on the screen printing doesn’t work. It’s also healing. Nowhere near the pretense I find in other groups, which while predominantly female, still have men present.

I’m already looking forward to next year. When I won’t be a raw beginner. Just my usual beginner’s heart…



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