Taken By, Taken by The Sky

I’ve been a reluctant camper for most of my life. My parents were extremely enthusiastic about nature and the outdoors, while I was extremely enthusiastic about curling up with a good book. (One lucky year in Yosemite, it rained for days on end which allowed me enough time in the back seat of the station wagon to read Gone with the Wind.)

But most of my childhood camping trips were spent on nature walks admiring deer “scat”, or at campfire programs, singing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” in a round. I climbed was bribed up a few mountains and grudgingly learned to identify a few birds.

My extensive experience should have made me a champion camper (I’m sure that was my parent’s intent), but it didn’t take. I found camping as tedious as a listening to a park ranger playing her pan flute on the side of a mountain. So once I was old enough, I stopped going.

In college, I steered clear of the nature jerks. They were easy to spot since they looked like they’d just crawled out of a cave and usually had sticks firmly planted in their dreadlocks.

But then I started seeing Mr. WholeHog, who, as luck would have it, likes to camp. So I found myself in the woods again, sleeping on rocks, and I still didn’t get the point. “Why are we choosing to sleep on the ground when we have a cozy bed at home?,” I whined on our first camping trip together, as I tried to form a “pillow” out of a sweatshirt.

I learned important lessons that first return to camping, though. I learned to always pack a real pillow. I learned that a bottle of wine and good chocolate are as essential as a headlamp.

camping.jpg

And eventually, I learned that I liked camping. As an adult, I better appreciate the chance to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures camping provides: the satisfaction of a warm meal, feeling snug in a sleeping bag, seeing a night sky thick with stars.

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