Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lost and Found

One day at camp, we decided to take a hike through the prairie. There were forty acres of tall grasses along one border of the camp, with these winding, self-referential trails mowed through it. Usually it was used for trail rides and not much else, but this day we decided to take our kids through it on foot. Being smart and well-trained, we got some jugs of water and some fruit together and set off.

At camp you walk in single file, one counselor in front, one counselor in back. I don't remember who led us in that day, but as we regrouped after our snack, we decided I should be the one to lead us out. I started off on a path that seemed to be headed in the general direction of home. Sometime later, it became clear to me that we weren't getting anywhere real fast. Sometime after that, it became clear to the kids as well. "We're lost," one complained. "No, we're not," I replied automatically. "Then why is this the third time we've walked by that bush?" he countered.

The fourth time we passed the bush, I gave up. We were out of water, it was hot, and I was apparently clueless. I called for a rest break. "I know where we need to go," I told my co-counselor. "I just can't figure out how to get there. None of these paths lead where I think they should."

"Do you want me to try?" he asked. "Sure," I said, swallowing my pride. I didn't know what else to do, and he had been a boy scout. Surely that counted for something.

A half hour later, we were home, safe and sound. The kids all headed into the tents to change, and I turned to him and asked, "How did you do that?"

"You're sure you want to know?" he queried.

"Of course," I replied, expecting some tidbit of boy scout wisdom.

He blushed and said, "I just followed the dog."