Gentle readers; by the time you receive this letter, I will already be gone.
Camping, that is. I’ll be gone camping.
It is our maiden voyage into the wild with children and I’m filled with a mix of dread and excitement. One child is constantly reminding me that “the bears will get us!” One insists that she’s going to scarf s’mores until she vomits. If bears and marshmallow throw-up aren’t enough, there’s the Mount Everest of gear that has to be Tetris-ed into the open spaces of our car while still allowing for oxygen intake.
Of course the bassets will be accompanying us, offering their services as scent hounds and shortly thereafter their services as the “look-what-I-rolled-in-mom-let-me-christen-your-sleeping-bag-with-it” experts. Better add shampoo to that mountain of gear.
Camping trips with my family, as a child, made large deposits into my happy memory bank. They fill my recollections with leisurely hours of fishing and daydreaming, playing Robin Hood with my brother and sister in the deep woods, and pondering the particular perfection of tree bark or the intricate veins of a leaf. It was a chance to abandon the schedules and embrace the sweetness of living off the clock.
I remember finding riverbanks, or small islands in the middle of a creek, to set up a makeshift tent out of the old car blanket and some string and snuggle in with a good book or a notebook to scribe my own fanciful tales. Hours were spent in the dappled shade, peppered with the light bouncing from mosquito wings and the clicking whir of grasshoppers on their way to summer meadows. My writing may have been born in the necessary busy work of the classroom, but it blossomed under the summer canopies of pine trees.
My girls are just old enough, I hope, to enjoy the wonders of nature, and still young enough to let me tag along on their explorations. I hope they can unplug their technology without too much dissent. I hope the trade off for star-filled skies and the quiet babbling of cold creeks over smooth-worn stones gives them the same magical connection I once had.
When I return, shin-deep in bassets who smell of “Ode-to-something-dead”, and grimier than I’ve been in awhile, I will dust off my laptop and reconnect my rested brain back into the words. And hopefully, just like my kids, they will let me tag along with them to new adventures.