Unplugged from everything electronic since Friday for the family camping trip to Bear Lake.
I enjoyed the silence...and I have stories...many stories and I reconfirmed several things: I can and have and do enjoy camping but I don't love it and it is never my first choice of how to spend vacation time...ever. But it's relatively cheap to do, and you get to be all warm and snuggly and living way too close together which helps you work on tolerance, patience, perseverance, and charity towards your fellow sibling, their spouse, or child...or maniacal dog...and those are the people you love and want to be with and does not include drunken or intrusive strangers singing Bon Jovi and Garth Brooks karaoke late into the night...though I sang along around my campfire with them...come to think of it that was actually really fun and made me laugh, but you get my meaning just the same.
When people say: we will be camping by the beach at the lake and will be swimming everyday...this actually means "you will still have to hike to pee, you will be filthy from lake silt 10 minutes after you arrive, you should have brought more than flip flops for your feet, and you will be sleeping on the ground on weeds and gopher holes in a tent and to get out you will crawl like a wounded dog on hands and knees and occasionally curse like a sailor under your breath."
I. Hate. Tent. Camping.
- But I love my family, Dutch oven cooking, campfires, pitch black skies littered with stars, laughing kiddlywinks as they relish the joy of dirt and rain and songs and fires.
- Swimming nudie-booty in the cool of the great, blue lake with no one else around...well...at least at a healthy distance with warnings shouted followed by "Are you serious?" and “Yes I’m serious.” and “No…really…are you really naked?" “YES. NAKED. SKINNY DIPPING. Now stay away or the discomfort is on you...I'm swimming free" and then laughter and “O.K.” And then that cool, clear, blue, mountain water with a lingering Spring chill sliding over your slick skin like a porpoise and you are shining like diamonds and you are alive and primitive and free.
- Watching the skyline darken and purple, eking out every last moment in the water before massive thunderstorms that whip up whitecaps on the lake and make everyone immediately work together to get things hauled up from the lake, put away, and battened down, charges the humans down covering them in dirt, dust and rain.
- Chortling and laughing with my mom as we share a tent and try to roll ourselves into our sleeping bags and back out again, sharing personal poetry, quotes that thrill and inspire and personal stories and tales of joy and woe, memories and musings of grandparents and ancestors, stories of silly siblings, and ponderings on nature, God, life before birth and life after death, and things that inspire, and how grand and glorious the universe is and how fantastic it is to be a human being.
- Singing "Yes We Have No Bananas" and "Hello My Honey, Hello My Baby, Hello My Ragtime Gal" to the gleeful delight of small children, telling a roaring good tale about The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf, and Jack and the Beanstalk during a thundering, maelstrom of a storm to wild and woolly five year-olds.
- Blowing up SEVEN rafts and/or tubes to everyone’s delight, using a kayak for the first time powering yourself by your own effort and volition through the water, dipping the paddle in and out and in until you get the rhythm and you gain your confidence and you begin to think that maybe your next outdoor purchase should be a little watercraft.
- Sitting in an empty campground at a vacant picnic table with my Mom and sister-in-law talking as the birds swoop and peep and the sun rises over the mountaintop, and you watch your camp slowly awaken as one little five-year old boy skinnies out of the bottom of his tent as his parents still sleep, and creeps barefooted tent to tent to see who else might be awake to play with and talk to.
These are the memories...these are the good times...these are the reasons you put up with packing a mini house in bags and crates, with the forgotten items that always get forgotten, and why you push through the occasional annoyances and obstacles like storms, rain, dust, puking children, forgotten pots, food dropped in the dirt, smoky fires, wagons that won't pull in the sand, and why you have a good attitude even with prickers in your dusty toes because you forgot your tennis shoes at home by the dresser with a fresh pair of folded socks inside of them just waiting for you...and near misses of peeing on your own pants as a grown adult woman because you hovered a little too wobbly over the latrine pit...but no worries...you made it and didn't have to cop a squat like a kitty cat in the middle of a vacant field with your pale bare bum like a little white moon in the air because you weren't sure you could duck-walk another 50 yards to the bathroom.
I am thankful for modern times--meaning plumbing and electricity and tall Queen-of-Sheba beds and soap...soap is awesome--and am not sorry I live in them. Camping is great for outdoor time and helping put some perspective on life as a whole...helps you remember where you came from and who you are. And best of all--it creates stories and memories shared of all of the drama and comedy and unexpected situations that crop up along the way.
Next stop: hotel camping...or if I find the Money Tree or The Goose Who Lays Golden Eggs...a big, fat truck and a beautiful trailer...now that's camping in style! But now I'm just dreaming...no doubt I'll be scrabbling around on the ground like a dog, climbing out of a horrible tent again, with crazy hair, a headache, and a cross legged, hopping pee-walk, sooner than I'm ever planning on or expect.
Happy camping kids...go live the dream...or something like it. :)