AMUUSE 2: Costumes and Comets

Another great day at AMUUSE camp ended with a bucket of fun, then a mystical finale.

First we had our United Nations themed costume party. Those who came in cars brought outfits to represent (truly or humorously) some country of the world. 809p1Elaborate Viking, Egyptian, and Scot outfits appeared. Also authentic garb ftom China, India, Belize and Nigeria. Some wore simple or comical accents on otherwise normal street clothes to represent a humorous irish, swiss, and khazak person. But that poor guy on the motorcycle, with limited space, needed something tiny that would create an entire costume by adding only an accent piece.

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Two colorful leis from the dollar store converted my otherwise tropical casual wear into the “Ambassador from Samoa”.

I’m again so very tired during the evening dance, able to only dance every third or fourth song. The dj is geat, and the several experienced women dancers are amazing; taking time with me to tutor my slow progress, help with my steps, and teach me turns and opens. Later I’m so delighted to watch the various matching of couples dance because, even though I can’t yet deliver a consistent lead, I can certainly spot one, and learn from it. And I appreciate the wide range of skills among my fellow campers.

I got misty watching one of the better women pair with one of the senior men. He has come to camp yearly for decades. I heard him say he only ballroom dances here at camp, and admitted being too shy and embarrassed to think of dancing anywhere else.

As I spied them on the floor, a waltz was playing, yet he was leading them to two beats, not three, and in a simple walking pattern around the ballroom oval. But she matched him, step for step, backward (and in pink camp sneakers), on imaginary beats unrelated to the actual music, while looking into his face, smiling, and making hushed small talk. The respect shown to his leading, the care for his self-esteem, made my eyes tear up..

While the tango may be a ballet acting out primal urges, the waltz is a 3-D display of chivalry courtliness, as both the man and woman give their everything to make their partner (not themselves) both look and feel like the best dancer on the floor and the only person in the room. Go watch an informal dance (not a competition or performance), and you will see. Or better yet, go learn to waltz.

Tonight was the week of the annual persius meteor shower. The sky is 100 times more visible in northern lower Michigan than in humid and usually overcast Florida. I unhappily checked the skies from the deck of our dorm, the porch area, the front drive and finally the back lawn. Each spot was either bathed in the orange of sodium parking lot lamps, overgrown by tall evergreens, or both. The only solution was to walk down to the empty lake beach & pichic grounds, totally dark at 11pm.

With nobody present, and even neighboring camps only minimally lit, the sky was simply stunning. I eventually made myself (un)comfortable by laying flat on my back on one of the huge wood slab picnic tables, lying still, staring skyward with my eyes wide open.

Beyond the major and minor stars visible in Florida, after a minute I could see the clouds of light formed by the billions and billions of tiny distant stars, swirls and clouds I haven’t seen in many years.

Then the  meteors began, with a shooting star appearing every 45-60 seconds, in different parts of the sky, streaking in different directions. As my 20 or more minutes elapsed, more and more detail became visible, the tally of meteors continued to grow, but the bevy of mosquitoes feasting on me grew eventually to a tortuous horde.

I will return tonight, first covered in DEET, to savor nature’s wonder.

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