Dear Boundless Families:
I just happened to paddle by a pod of teenagers canoeing on the Madawaska yesterday, hooting and hollering and making quite a fuss over a dead log. With its base anchored and unmovable in the river bed, the other end protruded from the river at a 45 degree angle, like it was auditioning for a X rated film.
These kids – your kids – started shimmying up its bulk to its terminus in the sky, and made death-defying and often humiliating leaps into the river.
Just screwing around. The weather was plus 22 with a slight tailwind and blistering sunshine that is forever demanding the refrain, “Put on your sunscreen!” The moment was heavenly and magical, and made me pine for immortality.
Kevin, their leader, is getting them acquainted with life on water that moves. Sometimes fast. They need this introduction, as life shall get intense in just a few days. The Dumoine is looming, and they have much to get ready for. 58 sets of rapids await. These gems of gravity are indifferent to the attitudes of humanity. You will float effortlessly on them, or you shall be devoured. The river doesn’t care either way. There is no “accommodation”. Your kids will rise to the occasion, I am sure.
But this physical challenge is the least of it. As to how your kids find their place in this all-inclusive tribe they barely know, that will tell the tale.
I observed many subtle dynamics in my brief encounter with the clan. The gals were quiet, engaged, incremental, biding their time for domination, watching the fellas make fools of themselves with a sense of amused detachment. The boys are overtly jockeying for places in the hierarchy, if there ever could be such a thing so early on in the journey. I predict the girls will rule. They always do.
Like a fool, 25 years ago I built my cabin way too close to the lodge, where your kids are staying these days. They disturbed my serenity until about 10:00pm, when the staff must have prevailed in their efforts to keep the kids hushed. But their decibel level suggests that the kids are starting to feel good with each other. This too is magical.
On Tuesday, the group heads into deep wilderness. Which brings me to another familiar refrain – no news is good news. If you don’t hear from us, it means all is well.
I’ll write again on day nine, when I get a clear sense they have survived this expedition. Until then, with us luck!
Thanks for sending your kids to Boundless.