We ended last week with a walk along the Main Mall of the campus I work at, with a treat of milkshakes, exploring.
You’d think that campus isn’t exactly a place that I could explore now. I’ve only been there over 13 years now. A walk down Main Mall is hardly an adventure … right?
Except that it was.
Cameron had attended a camp that week that saw him and the other kids out exploring in teams. Sometimes they’d have a scavenger hunt, other times it sounded like there was a giant game of tag/hide and go seek. But the one that really caught his attention involved reading riddle clues, much like a certain reading game we’ve played. They’d reach a clue, which would be a riddle for the location of the next one. He said that the clue that was at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum was easy to find, as he knew about the whale bones. But other clues sent them places he’d never been. And he was eager to share these sights with me.
I let him play tour guide, at first thinking hey, I’ve walked along here a hundred times before. It’s beautiful, yes. I do stop to admire the mountains across the water, the flag, the architecture even. But I’d never stopped to stand in the center of the ‘echo circle’, and I’d certainly never yelled, “ECHO,” while standing there. Or anywhere on campus. I never go to the rose garden – it’s at the very end of the Mall, past any buildings I might find myself visiting on work errands. But we played there, sniffing roses as we went.The Chan Center for the Performing Arts? I go there when a friend is in a convocation ceremony maybe … actually, I don’t think I’d been there since mine, when Cameron was just a baby. We sneaked in (okay, with permission) despite the signs saying that the Centre was closed for setting up to film a movie there. We played in the small stand of trees that make an almost-forest beside the Centre. And those funny crash mats outside of the library? They look like clouds. And yes, we jumped on them. I think we had way more fun than the obviously newly arrived first year students who gawked at us. They were far too cool and boring to jump on anything I think.
Sometimes it’s fun to let someone else, especially a kid, play tour guide for you – even in a place you think you know well. They may have a different perspective, or different priorities. You might just get to see an old place through new eyes.