Wombat goes to Camp

I spent the first week of March at yoga camp. It really was like camp. I was a little nervous to meet everyone — I only “knew” two of the people, who I had met previously in the cybershala. And it turned out to be such a lovely group of people and everyone got along swimmingly. It was a great mix of personalities, each with a warm heart.

It was interesting to be dropped into a new group of people with time to reflect on how you behave in a new group. When I meet new people, I tend to be performative at first and, even in a ‘we’re all here for the yoga’ setting, I have a difficult time leaving my academic identity behind. And some of that is ok– I am nerdy and excited about science and critters and stuff– but some of that comes from the desire for status or approval. It is funny that I try to seek approval that way, since know-it-all-ness (when not from sheer enthusiasm) can be so off-putting. Tim, clearly used to dealing with over-educated people, called me out on this with gentle humor, allowing me to see and abandon that dynamic. In any case, the performative stuff subsided by day 2 or so, and it was fun to hang out, expectation-free.

I stayed with three others in The Big Palapa, an three-walled room of eight mosquito-net draped single beds and two bathrooms, and it did, occasionally, have the feel of a sleep-over. I have lived alone for the past seven years, and I do wonder how that has warped me — it was nice to have company for a week.

There were a few small adventures — kayaking with Jade to a nearby beach to go snorkeling; rock-hopping on the beach, which always makes me feel alive; and surfing at the local point break, resulting in few nice rides (and cut up feet). And there was some fun bird-watching on the beach with Clare, where we saw Snowy Egrets, Whimbrels, lots of diving Brown Pelicans, Black-Necked Stilts, perhaps a Willet, a Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, a Bananaquit, and a large raptor that was not a Crested Caracara (much to my disappointment) but was probably a juvenile Common Blackhawk. But there were also just a lot of leisurely meals (the food was very fresh and tasty) and reading and talking on the beach.

In my every day life, opportunities to connect with new people are few, so that little thrill of meeting someone you click with is a rarity. For me, this was a week suffused with that thrill, and that was both incredibly pleasant and morale boosting.

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