|(beautiful woods all around)
I found it hard to have any idea how big Squam really was because it's spread out amongst tall trees, around the lake. I'll admit to being lost and clueless about how to get where I was supposed to be a good bit of the time. We were given a map with all the activity and class sites numbered, which did help some but I don't think I got the lay of the land until one of the last days there. The good news for me was that there were always people around me who seemed to know where they were going, so I just followed along!
Friday morning was free time and I spent much of it sitting on the screened porch of our cabin, knitting and soaking in the peacefulness. Going down to sit on the dock was another enjoyable activity. There's something so calming about looking out over the lake, but I couldn't bring myself to even think about swimming in that cold, clear water. One of my cabin-mates, who is a New Englander and used to such shockingly cold water, did go in for a short swim. I was perfectly content to watch from close by!
Friday afternoon and Saturday morning was my Botanical Printing class, taught by Maya Donefeld. I'd been reading Maya's blog for a while and my general impression was that she was a really nice person, but I just wasn't sure what to expect from the class. Actually, I wasn't even sure what botanical printing was! Once again, I was blessed with a wonderful, encouraging, nurturing teacher. There were so many true artists in the class that I was intimidated before I began. I don't have the ability to sketch objects, so I struggled to draw something meaningful, but simple (and recognizable!). It was really helpful to have half the class on Friday afternoon and the other half on Saturday morning because it gave me time to think about what I could do. When I showed my idea to Maya on Saturday morning and asked for help figuring out the positive/negative aspect of it, she showed enough enthusiasm to keep me going. Though my design was very simplistic, I was happy with it in the end. One of my cabin-mates encouraged me to put it out on the project table in the dining hall and it was so gratifying to see that others liked it, though they didn't know me or that I was standing where I could see their reactions. So, another beautiful and affirming class experience for me. Maya gave a wonderful book talk on Friday evening about her recently published book, "Reinvention". It's a beautifully done book and has some great projects for using "rescued materials", as Maya calls them. There were several of us in her class who were in the midst of or had already experienced reinventing themselves, so it seemed to all come together in that way that life's messages often do. (Maya has a post about our class up on her blog today, with lots more pictures.)
|(pathways to everywhere)
|(the Playhouse-classroom for Botanical Prints)
|(twinkle lights - everywhere)
|(always a warm hearth to welcome us)
These wooden wheelbarrows are used to deliver ice to the real, old-fashioned ice boxes that are in each cabin. The ice is harvested from the lake during the winter, packed in sawdust in the ice house and used by campers during the summer. Just one more touch that made Squam special. Besides making ice deliveries, every day the "wood boys" (young men summer staffers) came around to all the cabins, cleaned out the fireplaces, laid a fresh fire for us to have that evening and loaded up the wood boxes. The young women came each day to clean up and leave fresh towels if we needed them. I'm not sure how they go about hiring their summer staff, many of whom are from foreign countries, but they've done a wonderful job. There was not one single staffer that I encountered who wasn't friendly and polite, always smiling and speaking when they saw us.
By now, I'm sure you can see why I'm hoping to return to Squam next year. It was such a positive experience and my advice to you is to start saving your money! It's well worth it.