Earth Science Camp, Episode 2:
Day 2 found us at ‘The Pinnacles’, a collection of strange and wonderful limestone rocks standing in the dunes. We’d arrived at nearby Cervantes the night before, much later than we’d expected, but the kids had still managed to laugh and talk quite happily until after midnight (the girls unaware that I could hear every word through the paper-thin walls of the backpacker hostel). Breakfast had been a muesli bar and a piece of fruit on the bus while we drove to our first destination for the day to arrive before 7am.
Rather than bore you with the details, I’m going to reprint a piece of flash 'fiction' I wrote for a writing site I belong to. It gives the general gist of events...
The monoliths stood, stone soldiers guarding the dunes. A gentle breeze from the sea teased and whispered softly at the plants that struggled to take root at their bases. Suddenly the peace was broken. Long shadows fell over them as a group of teenagers trudged after their teacher. They hugged clipboards to their chests and surveyed the standing rocks with wary eyes.
The teacher held up his hand. “We’ll stop here,” he said. “Remember to take notes in your booklets.”
For half-an-hour he lectured about ancient superstition, archaeological discovery and geological development. Some of the students pretended to take notes. Others stared at the ground, or gazed longingly into the distance. When at last he finished, they looked at him with hopeful faces.
Immediately they broke into groups of two and three, leaving footprints in the sand where the ancient ones once trod, taking photos and making discoveries, playing at being serious students of geology. Their freedom was all too short. They gathered again, looking disconsolate as the teacher discussed their findings.
At last he stopped.“Any questions?”
A hand went up at the back of the group. A tall boy with a shock of blond hair looked slightly embarrassed.
“Yeah, sir... can we play Hide and Seek?”
© K S
Facts about teenagers - No.2: Pop music played on a bus must be loud enough to make the bus bounce along the road in time to the beat. Furthermore, though the speakers on the bus are situated at the front, those who like the music must be seated as far to the rear as possible.