04 October 2011

Come Winter

Scrambling to create lesson plans for the coming week, I wonder again why I’ve agreed to one last camping trip for the year this weekend. There is too much to do to be going camping. I have quizzes to grade. I have emails from parents that I need to respond to, papers to copy and file, reminders to post. And that’s just the work side of my life. At home, where my family awaits me, the house needs a thorough cleaning, there is shopping to do for an upcoming backpacking trip, and my never-seeming-to-grow-shorter to-do list awaits. Plus, I can’t quite decide if that achy feeling in my shoulders and that scratch in my throat mean I’m coming down with something.

One last camping trip before we winterize the trailer for the coming cold. And yet, I can’t help thinking that we should just winterize it and put it away, and get to work on what we need to do. But Dan and the girls really want to go, and since we’re leaving the girls with grandparents while we go backpacking, it’s really something we should do. The girls love to camp so much – they ride their bikes and play together in ways that they don’t always agree upon when we’re home.

Finally, I am ready to leave school, and as I walk out of the building late on Friday afternoon, I notice the skies are dark with clouds and it is just beginning to sprinkle.

At home, there’s the final frenzy of last minute packing before we hook up the trailer and take off. We don’t go far – just to a small campground nestled among the granite boulders in the ponderosa, juniper, and manzanita a few miles from home. It’s one of our favorites, partly because it is so close to home, and partly because it really is strikingly beautiful.

The rain is moving in, and we quickly set up camp while the girls ride their bikes a few laps around the campground. Thunder, lightning, and the large drops begin to fall just as the trailer is ready to be home again for all of us. The girls return and stash their bikes just as the downpour starts in earnest.

A few moments later, we sit with a snack and drinks while the rain steadily pounds the roof. We all love that sound – the rain on the trailer roof – and my mind turns to other camps set up in a hurry, especially cranking up our tent trailer during a short-lived June snowstorm in Yellowstone back when Arden was not quite four.

After a sunny morning’s hike, the clouds build up, and it rains from Saturday afternoon into evening. The weather is chilly, and really finally feels like fall. We read, drink coffee, and laze about, enjoying the rain on the roof and this fleeting time to just sit and do as little as we want. By Sunday morning, I realize I’ve slept more than twenty hours since Friday night, and those aches I’d felt have disappeared. I feel lighter and calmer. The view of the granite and trees from the trailer door is exactly what my soul required to recharge. And in spite of my vague resistance, one more camping trip before winter is just what I needed. Sometimes we don’t recognize what it is we need – and luckily, sometimes those we love know precisely what will make us – all – whole again, and that will sustain me come winter.

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