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Being here

Oh how we are tied to our lives, our importance, our phones, our screens. As I begin my annual week at summer camp, it falls to me to encourage and cajole both counselors and campers to lay aside their phones. It falls to me to let my own screen go dark and silent. Because I want us all to be here. To BE here.

For myself, my friends, for you, I offer this poem by Wendell Berry called The Vacation. And I wish for you an experience this summer, even if it's just a weekend or a day to yourself, that you will immerse yourself in fully.

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation. He went flying down the river in his boat with his video camera to his eye, making a moving picture of the moving river upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly toward the end of his vacation. He showed his vacation to his camera, which pictured it, preserving it forever: the river, the trees, the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat behind which he stood with his camera preserving his vacation even as he was having it so that after he had had it he would still have it. It would be there. With a flick of a switch, there it would be. But he would not be in it. He would never be in it.

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