An evening of firsts for me...my first Yuengling beer, and in fact, my first beer in a looong time. First dance in forever.... Even a first at someone trying to pick me up ;-), I'll have to ask Cecelia who that was... First time truly enjoying an aikido camp party, too. Of course, the music was too loud, the room was way too cold, and too dark...not even a candle on the tables. But I just felt oddly calm and happy. I could see a tremendous change in the boys, too. They were suddenly on a different plane...having achieved a major hurdle in their lives, testing for brown belt (2nd kyu) at camp and actually having fun at it, and making quite an impression as well!
Interestingly, though, at one point I just started feeling lonely...very separate from everyone, and I took a walk outside and communed with the most wonderful tree! I think it was a Red Horsechestnut, as there was another similar but younger tree with a plaque on it with that name.
This was the kind of tree that you could just climb into and feel held in the arms of the Universe! I think I needed that little interlude to re-center myself as an integral part of the Earth and the Universe. The party was starting to feel very shallow and empty to me, lots of people, not really connecting with each other, just kind of rubbing elbows with each other, which is what parties tend to be, I think.
It was after this interlude, that I went back inside and had a conversation with one of the aikido instructors who then asked me to dance...it's really been so long...but I surprised myself at just being totally at ease with it. Cathy came along and joined us, and then Maruyama Sensei did as well. He kept asking if I was Cathy's mother for some reason...I think it's because I watch out for her to some degree, maybe I made him nervous, as she tends to be his favorite person to tease.
Later, I was standing by the doorway to the room, and a man came over and asked me what my official function was, standing there by the door...I don't mind a casual conversation, but then it started to dawn on me that there was a definite purpose to this one...luckily someone else came over and pulled his attention away long enough for me to realize that I could politely walk away.
Lex took my photograph several times, also another first. I think I'm getting a little better at being comfortable in front of the camera...I'm so much happier being the one behind it ;-)
Here's a photo of most of the aikido group, getting ready to have their portrait done... this was also the first time that George and Mike have been in one of these photos, as they are not usually in the class when the photo is made.
Maruyama is the one standing away from the group, with dark hair. Click on this one to get a larger view, otherwise it'll just look like ants in white pajamas :-).
Oh, and thanks to Carter, too, for calling from LA to see how the test went. That was really nice!
p.s. after some online research, I believe the tree is a Beech tree....and I found out that Villanova has an arboretum of about 1500 trees, including a giant sequoia...I may take a ride back some day just to see the trees and photograph some more.