So, I’m back home after four days of camping, and because it had been so long since we’d camped (3 years), we were a little out of practice. At some point, the sheer volume of things we forgot to pack – food items, tools, shoes, a sleeping bag, a toothbrush, a comb and bug spray, to name a few – became comical. It was hot, dirty and dusty. There were mosquitoes and bees (which our dog kept trying to chomp mid-flight). There was an air mattress that wouldn’t hold air, and a flashlight that wouldn’t stay lit.
There was a path at the back of our campsite…
which led to a rock “patio…”
with a view.
One night we sat on that rock and counted shooting stars, and I felt small and awed and cradled and whole.
There were card games, a guitar, shared songs. Every night there was a campfire, around which we made s’mores and told our family’s camping history in stories that always began the same way: “Remember when…”
And there were trails…
that led to waterfalls…
and secluded places so teeming with life they felt like precious secrets I’d stumbled into.
There was a whole day out on the lake that I can’t show you because when I went to take the first picture, I discovered my batteries were dead. But honestly, by that time, I was an unplugged zealot, happy to look at the world straight-on rather than through the lens of my camera.
And I guess that’s the magic of camping for me. For a few days I leave my devices at home, and I snuggle up to nature. I feel the earth more solidly beneath my feet, and the sky (especially at night) seems closer. In the absence of my regular day-to-day noise, I get to hear the music the world makes, and in the absence of my day-to-day concerns, I get to feel my whole being respond to that music… the wild in me dancing with the wild all around me.
It is, for me, akin to church, a reminder that I’m part of something big and untamed and beautiful and ancient.
I’m curious. Besides church itself, what in your life “feels like church” – sacred, true, and validating right down to your soul?
On a different, but related note…
A couple of weeks ago, my beautiful friend, Andrea Lewicki, told me about a program she’s launching called Quartz Annual. “It’s a box of treasures delivered to your mailbox every quarter,” she said. “Each box will include writings, original art pieces, and found curiosities. It’ll be about inspiring people, moving them, delighting them.” She asked me if I’d write a piece for the first box and I said yes without hesitation. I was already delighted.
Just before I left for Shasta she told me the theme: “At Home In The Wilderness.”
Perfect, right? I don’t know exactly what I’ll write yet, but I’m excited to do it and I know whatever I write will come straight from my very full (and wild) heart. You can read more about Andrea’s offering here.
(Next week, what 30 Days of Creation taught me.)