Come play in my world for awhile!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Getting in touch with nature

Camping is fun but it is also a lot different than being at home or in a nice, posh hotel. In fact some would argue that camping is mother nature's way of promoting the hotel business. When you camp you have to deal with the weather, bugs, wild animals, sleeping on the ground, and people you do not know sleeping in very close proximity to you. It's usually fun. It's always an adventure. And there is never room service.

So this weekend I bit the bullet and camped with the Girl Scouts. Camping with scouts adds an extra layer of complexity to the whole process. Girl Scouts frown on dousing damp fire wood with kerosene to get a fire started. I, on the other hand, dump kerosene on dry wood just because it's fun to watch the POOF!
In addition to restraining my pyro-maniacal tendencies this weekend I also:

Neglected to shower for almost three days. Shoot, I wore the same clothes for the better part of three days as well. Why, you might wonder, would I wear the same clothes - night and day - for three days straight? Well, I got wet the first night. You know the night when it got down to 35 degrees. And then I spent the rest of the weekend in a vain attempt to regain my warmth. Getting naked to change my clothes would have allowed precious warmth to escape in the early frigid hours of the day. By the time the day grew warm and wonderful I was off in the woods, and not in the vicinity of my clothing. It was an evil, vicious circle. I felt nasty.

Watched my daughter become truly independent, and take responsibility for the ramifications of her decisions -- good and bad. For example, drinking thirstily before you go to bed on a rainy, cold night will cause you to wake up your "buddy" so that you can stagger through the forest to the outhouse. Twice. Oddly, they were still "buddies the next morning. Good thing I wasn't her buddy. I would have disowned her.

Slept next to a person who snores. And I don't mean a gentle, rhythmic snorer. I mean a whistling, growling, window rattling, jerk-you-awake-unexpectedly, guttural snorer. I think I got about three hours of sleep that night. It took all of my will power not to whack her with my shoe at around 3 a.m.

Breathed in the decadent smell of fall. I love the combination of crisp clean air, the wispy smoke from a camp fire, and newly fallen leaves.

Developed a new respect for women that can herd a group of 12 girls without losing their patience. I am telling you, middle school-aged girls are worse than three-year-olds: they have short attention spans, they don't understand the word no, and they get into everything.

Watched the look of sheer excitement and anticipation when my other three daughters joined me for the camp fire on Sunday. I was exhausted and, frankly, not in the mood. But those faces! Somehow I got excited all over again. I guess that's why I love little kids -- only a 6-year old could see the bright side of an outhouse.

How can you not be warmed by the site of a munchkin with marshmallows glued to her teeth?!

It seems camping is the art of getting closer to nature... while simultaneously getting farther away from electricity, hot showers and flush toilets.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, I am dreading this with my daughter. Back before I had kids, I co-lead a troop in the city. (Don't ask me why!) Their camping trips were overnighters in the museum, sleeping on the hard, cold, marble floor with stuffed birds staring down at us. Not sure which is worse. I'll take my cozy bed anyday... said...

GS camping IS different! I guess I can understand the whole concept of trying to rely on your own skill and whatnot, but by and large it seems that a little fire starter wouldn't hurt anyone!

Glad you had fun! When my girls are ready to camp will you be there leader? Please??