"The mountains are calling, and I must go." - John Muir
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Hi-Ho, A Merry-O, A Camping We Will Go!
One of my fondest childhood memories is that of camping out under the stars in whatever new destination my parents had driven us to. They'd pack up the good 'ol family van full of kids, blankets, pillows, games and let's not forget- even the dog, Bernard; luggage would be piled on the roof rack. She was brown, the van that is. My mother had even named her, Lucy- I believe. We'd leave early in the wee hours of the morning, darkness still filled the sky. With maps piled between the driver and passenger seat of the van, we kids knew that we had a long drive ahead but that at the end of that drive, adventure awaited us . The aroma of mom and dad's hot morning coffee enveloped the inside of the van and reminded me of just how early it was. And, as we drove down to the entrance of our culdesac, we kids would take one more look back and wave goodbye to our house. We knew our journey had just begun. That's when mom would start her singing..."Hi-ho, Hi-ho, a camping we will go..." My parents conversations were interupted many a times with the expected whining from the back of the van, "Are we there yet?" I can remember lots of pit stops to use the bathroom or to clean up dog puke. Getting back into the van to futher our drive, mom would start her singing once again, another favorite,"On the Road Again..." If I close my eyes I can still hear her. During long stretches of road, my father would attempt to entertain us by teaching us old army songs. We repeated word for word after him; something about a bird getting his head smashed in a window. We thought it was hilarious, my mother did not. Nevertheless, we were amused, until my mother would give my father 'the look.' Awww, those were the days! Little did my parents know at the time what they were doing to me. It was those childhood camping trips that instilled in me the love of nature, and the every now and then need for that oneness with mother-nature, the awareness of a Greater Being's existence. His evidence; our playground; this creation called Earth. There seems to be something healing about it all. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day shuffle of life. Being in the beauty of His creation is what brings us back to what's really important in life, what really matters. Because of my parents, I have the same desires for my children. I want them to have those same memories that I enjoyed as a kid. Whenever we do camp, a different perspective overcomes me. I am no longer cook, housecleaner, laundry maid, or disciplinarian, just mom and wife- my two favorite roles. I feel closer to my husband and closer to my children. And no matter how old you are, you're never TOO old to take a walk thru nature. John Muir, a well known author and National Park Preservationist, said it best: "Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." I say all that to say this... we're going camping this weekend! Can you hear my excitement?! The kids are counting down the days. Although, I'm starting to think that daddy is more excited than anyone else. He keeps talking about it. Hopefully, we'll return with sore muscles, full of good family fun, lots of pictures to share, and a re-alignment of what is truly important in our life.