Okay, let’s be honest. I don’t always love camping. I mean, I love camping in my camper. But, I am officially beyond sleeping on the ground or peeing in the woods, (there I said it and I’m not sorry!) As I approach the half- century mark I no longer feel the need to prove myself or indulge anyone else’s vision of camping. But, I do love being in the woods…especially when the weather is nice and the bugs are controlled. I do love the feeling of sleeping in the open air (we have a hybrid which allows this feeling) and I get a lot of amusement watching my husband and his to-do list. But here are seven of the real reasons I love camping:
1.) I feel more connected to God which makes me feel more connected to my self. In turn, I feel more connected to others. It is good for my humanity to not be insulated by all of the amenities in my daily life and gets me back to the basics.
2.) Campfires. What is it about campfires? Is there something hiding in our collective DNA that makes campfires so comforting and enticing? My family will stare at them for hours while we talk. It’s the actual scent that mesmerizes me. We could go walking away from our campsite and I will smell a campfire and I will stop and inhale and say, “I love that smell.” as if I never smelled it before. I literally just left my own campfire! What is wrong with me? Then he being campfire connoisseur of sorts tries to identify the wood being burned. You know, like wine….“with a hint of balsam…“.
3.) I love watching my kids connect with nature. I love watching them fish, kayak, draw….whatever way they engage. It makes me happy that they are able to experience this side of existence. I have a sign that says “Nature is my medicine,” because it is. It helps center me and reconnect me to who I am, it forces me to step outside my little world and see the much, much larger and much more intricate world of nature. I hope this is a gift that lasts for my kids.
4.) Family time. There is no getting away from it when we are camping! Mwahahahaha! (But I think they enjoy it too!)
5.) Creativity. I am always humbled and awed by God’s creation. In this past trip, I turned the corner in my kayak to see some pine trees whose trunks and branches tell a story of winter hardship and seasonal storms. It’s like the people we meet who have lead hard lives but there is beauty in them because of the experience. I would love to hear the stories from those trees. That is just one example. God’s creativity is everywhere! I am just witnessing the variations in his cathedral.
6.) Sometimes it’s just no fun. It is hard. Like when the electric jack goes and it’s midnight because, of course, you got a later start than you planned and balancing and securing the ginormous vehicle has to happen manually. Or when there is severe weather (my personal favorite! Grr!) Or when there is a bear and you are doing your nightly walk down to the garbage with your seven-year old and the bear presumes his take out order is in your hands….it can be less than fun. It can be terrifying! Which might be why I always pack my rosary to soothe my anxiety. But all of these things throw me out of my comfort zone and make me confront my fear. It makes me (even though it is a stretch) consider what it must be like to have no shelter, no sense of real security and no safety net. It’s good for me and it’s even better for my highly advantaged kids.
7.) It re-defines home. We all gather together in this small temporary home-space and it really does bring meaning to the line, “Home is where the heart is” because wherever they are I am home.
I’d like to hear about your camping adventures. What would your list look like?