Cultural Confluence

It’s Easter, Passover, the middle of Ramadan, and Vaisakhi—an unusual confluence of holy days, yet a timely reminder of the common bond of humanity. We witness this each day, in the people we work with and in the students and faculty we serve. We are inseparably connected. In some ways we are all becoming Generation C—connected, content-centric, COVID-constrained, climate conscious, constantly clicking. We are connected in ways never before imaginable, with everything worth saving stored in the cloud. We share in ways we didn’t previously, allowing us to connect on so many different levels. It may seem counter-intuitive, but we actually enjoy “getting away from it all,” precisely so that we can connect on a deeper level. This weekend was no exception.

Because we had Friday off, we arrived at Cedar Hill State Park on Thursday evening. After setting up, we enjoyed a camp meal of chili dogs and fries, followed by a full-moon walk along the lake.

Friday found us relaxing with The New York Times and Bloody Marys, exploring, brunching under the picnic pavilion, and enjoying a long afternoon nap. For Date Night, Chef Cliff prepared a perfectly grilled steak and veggies, which we enjoyed with our favorite Ravenswood old vine zinfandel. Then, we embarked on another walk along the lake. Earlier in the day, we started watching “Our Great National Parks,” a new Netflix series narrated and produced by former President Barack Obama. The series showcases not only America’s national parks but also wonders found in protected areas across five continents.

On Saturday, after our typical routines, we began preparing to welcome guests to Cloud 9 for dinner. It was the first time in about a year that we had invited anyone to join us at camp. For cocktail hour, Chef Cliff prepared shrimp with authentic St. Elmo cocktail sauce, his signature “blush cosmopolitan” (made with vodka, white cranberry/pomegranate juice, elderberry liqueur, and a squeeze of lime), and an assortment of nuts, meats and cheeses, while Jon built a campfire and set the table. After our guests arrived and toured Cloud 9, we settled in around the campfire while Chef Cliff prepared pork loin chops, fingerling potatoes, and green beans, which we enjoyed with a fresh Mediterranean salad and a Casillero del Diablo cabernet. For Jon’s birthday, we had an extra special treat: tres leches cake. With the fire roaring and the wine flowing, we enjoyed company and conversation well into the night.

Sunday found us in recovery mode as we slowly prepared to make our way back to Hampshire for an Easter feast of slow-cooked leg of lamb and vegetables. Jon spent time responding to his many birthday greetings on Facebook, and also took a call from his brother and sister-in-law. His birthday brunch was followed by a lazy afternoon nap.