Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Camping is one of my favorite things to do. As a child, my family and I went camping every Spring Break. Tents, sleeping bags, metal cups, plastic plates, gas lamps, camp fires, stars, shared restrooms, timed showers, nature. I love it all. Since being married, my husband and I have enjoyed a few camping trips. Our kids love it. There is something quite wonderful about sleeping in a tent. The sense of security offered by the billow of material surrounding you is out of proportion to the thickness of the fabric separating you from the elements, bugs, snakes, wild animals and other people, and you know it, but it doesn't seem to matter. (My apologies in advance to friends and family who believe that having an RV = camping. It doesn't.)
Life is just simpler when you're camping. The choices for meals is limited to what you could fit into the cooler. The time in the shower is limited to how many quarters you have, or how many people are waiting in the line. Your choice in background music is limited to the number of CD's you brought. And if you forget something, you just have to go without. Note to self: Yes, pillows take up a lot of space in the car, but a sweatshirt just doesn't cut it as a pillow. Games and activities for the kids are limited to what you could fit in the space between their clothes, shoes and toiletries. iPhones are not an option because the charger only works when the car is running.
My favorite part of any camping trip is the time spent around the campfire. Dinner is finished, the dishes are either done, or soaking in a bucket. There may or may not be music playing - it depends on whether you remembered the spare batteries for the CD player or not. Home-made cookies are passed around, marshmallows roast on skewers, and people are talking. Laughing. Sharing memories, stories, ideas and plans. The starts shine brighter, and you can see so many more of them. Camping creates perfect moments for me. Moments when life is good. The kids are tired, but always up for just one more marshmallow. The adults are relaxed and unharried by e-mails or text messages. And people are talking. Sharing. Enjoying each other's company.
There are lessons to be learned from camping.