My third day of camping and serving with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in the Santa Monica Mountains has wrapped up. Yesterday was a day of toil well worth the exhaustion. We spent several hours at Santa Monica Beach Park removing the rest of the leafy carnations and clover weeds. This was very advantageous to the local park service, who noted that a task such as ours would have taken them months. The lagoon/estuary is expected to open in late Summer, and within two years is going to be a dense, beauteous collection of native plants and shrubbery. It’s rewarding to know my fellow campers and I are a part of that.
Now I am bundled in several layers — with a scarf and knit cap — and just enjoyed a game of cribbage with my fellow Spring Breakers. It’s a game of strategic rules for organization and simple math; but it’s also a sly game, one of trickery.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the week-long breaks spent with the SCA is the dynamic camp life. Except for my nightly blog post, we’re majorly technology free and spend time playing cards and talking about a milieu of subjects — even the correct pronunciation of f-i-r-e and e-g-g-s.
There are university students from as far as Maine and as near as Arizona (me!) and we are very similar, but also very different. Today we spent time on a blissfully beautiful island, as a moment of respite from our hard work. We hiked amongst mountains that appeared (I’m sure of it) in The Sound of Music. We had the opportunity to share with our fellow campers as well as rest by reading to one another, playing tricky brain teasers and lounging in the sun near the beach. It’s interesting to note the differences in our universities, our habits, even our friends - but also the similarities in our adoration and awe of nature, our love for hiking & rock climbing and our desire to preserve state & national parks. Even though today we took a rest from physical labor, our minds still seek out ideas to protect our planet.
Our Alternative Spring Break is much like the game of Cribbage. SCA is our rule system, ensuring with strategic care that my fellow campers and I can complete our mission. The simple math of Cribbage translates to our uncontested love and dedication to conserve, restore and protect our planet while also raising awareness. And last — the sly trickery? Well, we employ that when encountering nasty fields of weeds that need to be pulled for the greater good. Mission accomplished/Cribbage game won (pwned).