Today was the last day of spring break for the public schools in my area, and I took a van-load of Boys & Girls Club kids to Mount Magazine for a photography field trip.
The weather didn't cooperate, being colder and more windy than anticipated. I tried to stick with the plan despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, but the agenda -- while still clinging to photography as its original purpose -- degenerated into fun-and-games, complaints about how cold the weather had turned, and general messing with one another's psyches and possessions.
The road up the mountain is steep and winding -- already a little exciting in a regular vehicle, and even more so in a big 12-passenger van. Despite my caution while driving, this became the phrase of the day: "Oh no, we're all gonna die!"
There were a few variations, including "We're all gonna die! Oh, look. A cow."
At one point imitating the squiggle-like signs indicating curves in the road, the kids did a silly dance. I explained -- loudly -- that when the passengers did the wiggle, the van did the wiggle, and if they all didn't stop, we were gonna wiggle down the mountainside. To which one boy replied, "And if you make me die, I'm gonna come back and kill all of you once you're dead."
Now, that's some shining logic if I ever heard it.
My fellow chaperon was trying to teach the kids some words in French, including touche (touch) / toucher (to touch). A holler from the back of the van: "Christina, can I touche your head?"
I laughed till I cried.
Which caused more dismay with the driving.
Which caused another round of "Oh no, Oh no, we're all gonna die!"
Vicious cycle, I tell ya.
Since I had allowed some of the kids to choose walking sticks at our first stop this morning, they had makeshift swords and spears that they strove to sharpen on the rocks whenever we stopped to take more photos. Once we returned to civilization for a mid-afternoon snack at a local park, the walking sticks made another appearance as one boy challenged the chaperon carrying the bag of sandwiches, "I'll sword-fight you for my lunch."
She just looked at him, and the sword became a walking stick once more.
Ah, good times.
I am home, alive, unmaimed, and with what I hope are some good pictures chronicling our day.
The best part? Everyone had so much fun, they want to go on the same trip again, "but, next time, can we go in the summer when it's warm?"