I have such a distinct image of Hannah. She’s sitting on a bench, wearing salmon colored hiking shorts and a blue Cottonwood Gulch T-shirt, waiting with a young girl who had yet to be picked up from her two-week stay at the Gulch. It was the last day of her group and the girl’s parents were dreadfully late, leaving her to wander around with staff members and a few lone campers for the morning.
When I passed by, the two of them were playing a round of mancala. Hannah’s laughter and ease with this fifth grader was so rawly genuine. And, you could tell that nobody was more thrilled than the eleven-year-old, having clearly won the jackpot of time and attention from a beloved staff member. I watched the scene from afar and was moved, in a way that years later I still can’t describe. To be with a child so authentically does not come as commonly as we’d like to think. Hannah did it naturally, in a way that shone so bright.
Ever since, when asked what made me want to work with children and go into education I often describe this scene. I’m not sure people grasp what I’m getting at, but it makes clear sense to me. I’ll always think of Hannah that morning in the desert – her candor, her gentleness, and her light.