Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall Outing 2008

It's been a long week of work since our Fall Outing last Sunday. I've been looking forward to posting this since then. I really enjoyed the outing and I know the kids did too. I'm posting a few short videos to remember the night by.

If you look at this as an outsider, one who has not experienced the Indian Guides program, you certainly might think it cheezy or even silly, that grown men would dress in a leather patch-filled vest and march through a cold fall night to watch a ceremony by a lake. But there was something electric about the moment. There was an energy generated by the hundreds of men and their sons yelling "HOW HOW" at the beginning of the evening's ceremonial procession, then becoming strangely quiet, while marching through the darkness, led by the light of a few homemade torches, and the cadence of the lead guy beating a tom-tom every few seconds.

Then we marched, and marched, and marched, down the dark torch-lit road (video #2), and then it became even more surreal. In hindsight, the quietness made the moment. If you imagine this same march with talking, it is just another stroll down the road and through the woods. But with silence, you think of things. You think about how rarely you experience silence when you have kids. You think about how fleeting this moment is. You think about how special this night is for your son. How cool he must think it is to walk behind these torches in the dark, with his dad.

We saw a lighted path appear as we came over the hill - a path 40 feet wide, and leading all the way down a hill for hundreds of feet, to the lakeside amphitheatre below. On each side of the path, the 2nd year Guides and Braves held their homemade torches - hundreds of them - in a meandering pattern of light. Silhouettes of dads holding hands of sons filled the view of everyone in the march. The silence was broken only by the crunching twigs and acorns below our feet, and the occasional murmur in the distance.
We had our handful of patches already glued to our vests. The eagle with a single feather or two, a canoeing patch, and a few others. They... had dozens more - each signifying this memory or that memory - that will unlikely be forgotten. Somehow, as we walked through that processional, you could sense that this same scene had been repeated for scores of years, and for several generations. I wished I could freeze this moment a little bit longer, and remember the sensation of how important this time is for me and my son, who will certainly be grown before I know it.
Once seated in the amphitheatre, the nation's chief came across the lake in a canoe and eventually lit the ceremonial fire with a large explosion (video #3). The kids loved that... and frankly, what dad doesn't enjoy an unexpected explosion every once in a while?
Then we had an exchanging of vows, for lack of a better explanation. Father and Son exchanged a yellow and blue bear claw. This is what I remembered. The father agrees to give up selfishness - to not be selfish in focusing only on his own priorities like work and hobbies. The son agrees to give up impatience - to be patient with his dad and realize that dad has other priorities to deal with. Ie. Sons, give your dad a break. Dads, give your son your time. I thought that was ironic, yet poignant, since it is often kids who are selfish and parents who need patience. But we exchanged bear claws and sealed it with a hug.
So that's my memory of the fall outing for our first year of Indian Guides. More pictures are posted here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Camp Kanata

Fire Feather and I had a terrific time at Kanata yesterday. A big thanks to the tribe for all the food and snacks that were shared.

Hookin' Fish