During college I spent my time working as a summer camp counselor at Camp Kieve. Each summer I planned and led a long wilderness canoe expedition through the North Woods of Maine. The weeks and days leading up to those trips were hectic. I had to ensure that the meals for sixteen teenage boys for eighteen days – a literal ton of food – was packed. Tents had to be seam sealed, stoves checked and refueled, repair kits made, and the canoes tied onto the trailer. I also had to watch that my campers were making it through any lingering homesickness, had packed all the right clothes, and, importantly, not snuck candy bars into their bags, luring unwanted animals into the campsite. On the day of the trip we would be dropped on the shore of a lake or river and I would go through one final checklist before the camp van departed, the last vehicle we would see for two or three weeks. And then the van would leave, we would load the boats, and head off down the river. An hour or two downstream, my brain would finally stop reviewing all of the plans and to-do lists and I would notice the beauty of the river, the quiet sounds of the canoe paddles dipping in and out of water, the humming chatter of teenage boys chatting and joking as we made our way to the first campsite. Once on the river, I could and would savor the moment.


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