But for three days of Christmas season, the compound is all lit up, with arms thrown wide open to everyone... even non believers can go into the gated grounds.
So I got out of my car and walked into the light.
I couldn't resist.
Here is where I walked down a canopy of light ...
....and here is where I turned the corner
being here was like standing in the midst of fireworks without the explosion, or the noise.
....and here is where I stumbled because I was so busy looking through my viewfinder - trying to get the next shot. I wasn't watching the little step down opened up right in front of me. ...
Just before I fell all the way down, the camera went off on its own and took this picture ...
I recovered and watched more carefully while letting my feet take me where they willed. for safety's sake, I put the cell phone with its tempting camera app back in my pocket. Drawn towards the far corner of the compound, I turned toward a crowd and beyond the people,
this is what I saw....
Unbelievable - it was a camel -
Had to whip out the camera on my cell and snap one more picture..
and then texted this shot to just about every one on my contact list ...
From cousin Cousin Gary ... "Wow! What is that? where are you?"
From one of my besties, Pam ... "Wow! Is that a camel?"
"Yes," I proudly typed, "it is."
I couldn't believe how much joy that sight brought me. I couldn't stop grinning about the camel.
It was so big.
It made me so happy.
I had been so tired from teaching all weekend but the tiredness totally evaporated in the sheer joy of witnessing such a magnificent creature.
and did I mention? I could touch it. I could touch the camel.
I had to edge in before he swung his head. THE CAMEL was so powerful that when he just waved his head, little children had to scatter. If they didn't get out of the way, the head swing was such an enormous movement that the momentum would have knocked them down. Anything in the wake of the swing was in danger. (I did see one little girl get surprised by the swinging camel head. her dad snatched her away just in time and she was ok, just stunned) Not that Mr. Camel was irritated or being mean, he was just so darn strong.
The beast was enormous yet gentle - the movements were slow enough so that you could dodge in between the head swings to get close, and stroke his hair. It was fine with letting me - and any of the brave little children - pet it Another dimension of happiness. "I'm touching a CAMEL", I giddily thought to my self, inwardly hopping up and down like my inner twelve year old girl who accidentally brushed into Graham Nash after a CSNY concert.. .
I turned to the fellow standing next to me - a Cheshire grin lighting up my face..
His face mirrored back my thoughts...
"Can you believe it?
Who would have thought ?...
"UNBELIEVABLE" - He said it back to me (the word that keeps exploding into my consiousness)
Yes- unbelievable - this gigantic camel creature RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
"I know." the guy was grinning back just as stupidly as me. He did know - For this one little bit of time, in this strange and wonderful momentary experience, I could see it in his face, this total stranger knew exactly what I knew. "Its a camel!" we both screamed together.
Turns out the guy and his wife had just moved to Portland from Las Vegas - you'd think they would have seen everything there - but this guy was mesmerized.
(His wife, however, did not share in the camel afterglow. She grabbed her man brusquely and ushered him away.)
I was happy the whole night because of that darn camel. It's amazing how seeing such a big huge living thing can realign your whole perspective.