Choices. So many choices. Every day, we make decisions that shape our lives, both in the moment and, quite possibly, for all time. There’s nothing like seeing the instant a Camper decides to take the leap, whether it be an actual vaulting off the top of the High Jump at the waterfront or the commitment to crawling on hands and knees into the depths of the Cave. There is a questioning look upon their face and you can see the gears turning, working out all the options. Then comes the choosing. To leap or not to leap. To venture forth into the unknown. To take the moment and seize it, for it is not failure that we fear, it’s that which we don’t yet understand. Failure is just an opportunity in disguise, but the mystery of what might be can be terrifying for anyone of any age.
While photographing the next generation of GRP cave explorers on our morning Mentor Hike, I watched as the looks of trepidation turned to excitement and awe. The sheer joy of observation inside the cool, misty void within the earth could be seen with each new discovery. I’ve witnessed grown adults run shrieking from the main entrance room of the cave, after shining their headlamp towards the wall just inches from the twitching antennae of hundreds of cave crickets. Today I watched two groups of young campers point and smile at the same critters. The purity of wonder and curiosity at camp can be a truly astounding and inspiring undertaking, for those who are captivated by the moment or captivated by those experiencing the moment. There are whole days, weeks, months, and even years of our lives we may not get to feel the delight of something new, be it a sight, a sound, or an exercise in testing our inner strength. It happens here, all day, every day. If you need inspiration, watch and listen to the kids. Their words and actions bring about much of the magic that we are so fortunate to see here on the Preserve.
As they say, carpe diem.
Story by Brandon S. Marshall with photos by Brandon S. Marshall & Samantha Keebler