Thursday and Julia said she is sad to think about going home. She is horseback riding this morning and if the weather holds we will do it together this afternoon. Weather has not been good by summer vacation standards. We have a lovely lake and beach, and canoes, kayaks and paddle boats. I have not had my bathing suit on to take the swim test, neither has Julia. And the beach has been empty. We have not minded; we are busy. Art activities, four baskets woven, shirts tie died, and painting, puzzling and rainbow loom. Walks and camp fires and an evening dance. Julia has not asked for her iPad and more often I must discipline myself to find time to write.

In the grey with peaks of sun and blue, I find a quiet joy and it is joy aplenty.

Yesterday, three days in, I walked the labyrinth. Physically it is one of the most beautiful labyrinths I’ve ever visited. Set in a cathedral of trees in a small glen surrounded by mossy mounds and ferns. Quiet, away from the camping buildings, close enough to hear meal and warning bells.

It was when Cheshire was beginning high school that I walked my first labyrinth. She and I traveled to New Harmony in southern Indiana for a spring break. I had no idea of how to walk it or what it was for but the hedged circular, repetitive path with its monk’s hut in the middle intrigued me. At the time, I thought that so much of my life had been like that repetitive, circular path and I badly wanted to trade it for the straight line, paved highway of a life. The work from all those years ago to now has been the acceptance of my own labyrinth.

As I walked yesterday and again today, I took in where I was-trees, ferns and moss. I heard the crackle of small stones beneath my shoes. Today, I walked with a friend and heard her footsteps loud and muted as we danced the twists of the path, close together, parallel and far apart. I lost myself on the path, concentrating on balance and the stones. Looking up to find that I did not recognize my exact location. I did not mind, rejoiced in and became impatient with the twisting proscribed path. I acknowledged metaphors, embraced my true life shape and vowed to start again. And again. And again.

Julia’s talking and singing non-stop when we are with the entire group. I have stopped trying to reign in the behavior because she wants to be with other kids and talk to every adult. I spent some time talking with the camp director, a psychologist who has worked with families for many years. I spilled some guts and asked for advice. She was blunt and helpful. Deal with sensory issues. I thought was were finished with that. She says we are not. Making schedules. Thought we were done with that as well. Not. She told me to get a sensory assessment. Told me to check out aspergerexperts.com for ideas and understanding. And invited me to stay in touch when we get back home.

Thank you.

When we are alone, Julia is willing to wake up and get to breakfast, she is running, beating me to the lodge for breakfast, something she rarely does, she is reading to me and slowing down sometimes. She has a crush on one of the volunteers who she cannot stop telling me about. She goes to sleep quickly. She is not scratching and picking on her head and the bald spot has stopped growing.

And we do have one more day.