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    melanieb

    The camp, the snack-man, and Baja, New Mexico

    by , 06-03-2013 at 05:03 AM (2478 Views)
    My son is headed to camp this summer with the scouts and I've decided to accompany them on the bus. I know I don't have enough money to actually participate in the camp but I felt like I should come along just the same.

    The bus arrives in camp and a sharply-dressed staffer boards the bus to give us the orientation directions. After pointing us in the right direction we all head towards the barracks that will be our home for the next 11 days.

    [img]http://mountainsidebride.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/camp-wedding-wooden-signs.jpg[/img]

    I must admit I'm fairly upset that my son has brought a huge radio with him and I'm chastising him since I know it won't receive anything anyway. Besides, we're in the woods and I'm sure people would prefer to hear the sounds of nature versus the boombox he is toting around.

    Of course, my son protests, and I decide to back off as we enter the main room of the common area. Immediately I realize how weird it will be to have co-ed sleeping quarters but in all honesty that's not important right now. I see that another parent is there with her son and she is getting him ready for his ceremonial swearing-in as the leader of the contingent. I know he's not ready for the position and isn't up for the responsibility but I keep these thoughts to myself.

    Turning around in the cramped cabin I find my son has placed his radio on a nearby dresser and has turned on the music. To my surprise it is picking up radio stations just fine, but even more surprising is the TV I see mounted to the wall as I look up. I can't believe that we're in this remote location and the camp has hi-def TV.

    My son starts eating a bag of chips and unloading his stuff from his pack. I call him into the hallway and I'm fed up with his constant eating so I start yelling at him though I'm not really upset so I lower my voice and begin talking to him in a more conversational tone. It's good that I did lower my voice as the raised tones caught the attention of the camp scout-leader and he looked worried. My attention returns to my son and then pauses as he turns to ask some of the scouts entering the room about their snacks, bags of chips and goodies that are loaded up by the armful.

    "We actually got there at just the right time, "says Kevin, one of the taller and older scouts. "The line was empty when we got there but by the time we were leaving there were fifty people lining up. I'd suggest getting your snacks now while they still have some."

    I look at my son, knowing he can probably wait, but then I think better of it and just encourage him to head up and get his shacks now. He heads out of the room and I decide to follow him.

    The main area of the camp is slightly muddy from recent rains and hundreds of pairs of boots tromping through the square. The mud continues up the steep hill that leads to where the scouts are all headed to get their snacks. The hill is grassy and has clearly benefited from recent rains but the boots of the scouts have turned the trail into a slippery and muddy path, despite many flat steps cut into the hill to prevent erosion.

    [img]http://johanna.wandel.ca/JDF/IMG_6675.jpg[/img]

    I'm especially impressed with how green this part of New Mexico looks and how nice the air is and I'm glad we're far away in a remote area of the state, distant from all the cities and urban areas that plague our home. My thought is barely finished when I come to the top of the hill and I see the distant vista of downtown Baja, New Mexico, the largest city in the state.

    [img]http://www.johnharveyphoto.com/HongKong/CityViewAtNightHg.jpg[/img]

    I nearly gasp seeing the tall buildings and sprawling city laid out before me over the next ridge. My son clearly knew more than I did when he decided to bring the radio on this campout. Even more strange than the view is where the path now leads; We're on top of a parking garage, a muddy trail leading from the hill to the far corner of the cement parking lot. In the corner sits an older man and his friend, two chairs and a white plastic cooler their only equipment.

    I approach as my son finishes his transaction and I get a brief glimpse at their offerings. Cold beverages fill one side of the cooler and various other snacks sit on the ground at their feet, slightly hidden by the open lid of the cooler. I'm a bit put-off by this sight and I had hoped for better from a camp that could afford to put HDTV in the camper's rooms.

    It's time to head back to camp and I see one of the other scouts from our troop nearby, also ready to head down.

    "Let's race!" I call to him and the next thing I know we're both racing down the muddy hillside. I can't believe how fast I can go and after taking a particularly large step I know I'm dreaming. I can see that I'm about to land in a rather muddy spot so I pull up my feet and let my momentum carry me a distance of nearly 25 feet beyond the mud, a great moment of control and satisfaction. I want to wrap up the race in a grand way so I turn sideways and slide down the rest of the slippery hill of mud, a feeling of exhilaration that is as close as I can get without flying. Naturally I win the race.

    Now that I'm at the bottom I start to take a look around and I find the camp actually lies on the edge of a suburban part of Baja, the tree-lined streets almost giving the impression of some small town in Tennessee. Slightly in front of me and to my left is a old, brick firehouse, now abandoned, and a pair of railroad tracks lies between me and the building. A couple of cars navigate the nearby neighborhood streets. I feel so odd having a camp this close to the neighborhoods of the city.

    [img]http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasTowns/GrafordTexas/GrafordTexasFirehouse1007MPrice65.jpg[/img]

    To complete the odd scene, a motorized contraption straight out of the late 19th century appears, an oddly-shaped machine with spinning wheels and a sputtering steam-muffler. The conveyance is clearly designed to travel on both train tracks and regular roads, overly-complicated with gears and flywheels that make approaching it seem dangerous. I watch as the machine rides the rails around the building and then enters the road on the far side of the building.

    I take this as my cue to follow the driver and I suddenly find myself in a Chevy Blazer, an older model that is both cramped and over-powered. My daughter is driving and I know she is planning on passing up the strange contraption we are rapidly approaching. My cousin-in-law leans in behind me to tell me that, "Everything will be okay, we can easily pass the machine. This Blazer has a V8 engine and is more than powerful enough to catch it."

    We pass up the machine and continue along a road that slopes down towards an intersection ahead, though my daughter shows no sign of slowing. I can see the slightly-obscured stop-sign and I yell at her to stop before we hit something. On cue a man appears running across the road, as far from a crosswalk as he could be, his diagonal path on a clear intersection with ours. I brace myself as we hit the man and he goes spinning up and over the hood, though he shows no real sign of injury and continues on his path.

    "Okay, " I'm thinking, "that was weird." We turn left at the new road and I realize we're heading deeper into the city of Baja, a place I've never been and I can only vaguely picture on my mental map as in the northern part of New Mexico. I still can't believe how green it is, but even that pales in beauty to the snow-capped mountains I see to my left, illustrating how high up we are in elevation. To my right is a wide meadow that is clearly a park used for sports like Frisbee and impromptu games of touch football. The air is warm, perhaps 60F, but there remains a little snow along the edge of the field. Every part of me is marveling at the beauty of this place and I start considering what it would take to move there from Texas.

    [img]http://media.indiedb.com/images/articles/1/130/129140/auto/rocky_mountains_sml.jpg[/img]

    Sensing my desire to look around and get a feel for the place my daughter stops driving and parks the vehicle right in the middle of the lane, a bit further out from the curb than one would normally park. I watch as she leans out of the door and sprawls out over the pavement, her head in one lane and her left arm stretching out into the next lane of traffic. A car is approaching and I pull her arm back quickly to avoid it being in the way of traffic. My pleas to get up go unheeded and I can't believe she would go to this length just so I can look around at the trees and mountains, a scene I know my mind has created but clearly a place I want to explore.

    Unfortunately I wake up, remembering a location and experience more pleasant than I could possibly describe.
    CanisLucidus likes this.

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    Comments

    1. CanisLucidus's Avatar
      Beautiful dream, mel. I got this sense of incredibly stable geography from reading this, almost as if the next time you return to this dreamworld location it'll be just like you left it.

      Hope you find your way back there soon.
    2. melanieb's Avatar
      I would so love to visit this place again. It's true, the geography was stable and I think my awareness of the landscapes in waking life allows this to recur regularly.

      I would like to visit that place again, and explore the mountains I saw in the distance or the pleasantly green city.

      Those pictures don't even come close to doing the scenery justice.