It seems odd to me that I have not posted anything to this blog in more than two months. Perhaps I have been busy. I am not sure what happened. When I came back from East Africa, I was overcome by a virtual tsunami of activities. There were classes to prepare, art to work on, people to catch up with, finances to deal with, etc. Essentially, the details of life took over. And that is what this post will be about.
I sometimes go camping just for one night. Camping for one evening is a lot of work. You must pack the car with gear. Packing from a unit deep inside a condo development means loading plastic bins onto a hand truck, rolling them from deep inside the belly of this beast, over the ramp, into the parking structure, up the elevator, and then into the car. Hopefully it is only one trip. Then you drive to the supermarket and load up on food for a night. That takes time. Fill up the tank, more time. The market does not have everything, like propane and wood, so you make another stop along the way. You drive, perhaps an hour or two for a local trip.
When you get to the campground, you hope there is a site available. Many campgrounds in southern California are now first-come, first-serve. That means you leave early to secure your spot, and there is no guarantee. Assuming you get a spot, you unpack the gear, set up your tent, gather more wood, and settle in for the day.
Perhaps you take a hike around the local area, as I did last time at Crystal Lake. Otherwise, you just relax, maybe read a book. As the sun starts to set, and the stars come out, the fire adds ambient light to your campsite. The temperature drops, and the fire warms your bones. The food is simple and easy to prepare. Canned soup is always good. You stare at the fire, along with your 12-ounce buddy. The fire sucks you in, makes you consider its essence. I talk to fire all the time when I camp. And it talks back to me.
Around you are other campers. In a perfect camping adventure, the only evidence of human presence outside your campsite is the fire next door. If you are with good friends or a lover, it is a blissful experience. The night comes quickly, and you are surrounded by its blue-black beauty. It’s the one time you don’t mind going to bed early, just to enjoy the silence.
The firewood is gone, and the flames get smaller. The temperature continues to drop, and you dream of wiggling into your sleeping bag, finding the perfect position, zipping up, and waiting to get warm. There are distant sounds as other campers do the same – prepare for a night on the ground, in nature, surrounded by trees, rocks, stars, and solitude.
You have spent the day in nature, considering, perhaps, the meaning of life, or simply enjoying a break from your daily madness. You don’t have to go camping to do this. But camping is a most excellent way to check out of your daily routine, if only for an evening.