Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camping Zen

There were a lot of photos I thought to put here. A lot. You can see them by going here:

But the fire shot seems to capture something. The stillness and reflection that comes over you as you gaze silently into the dancing flames.

This past weekend we went camping. We took the boys with us and went for two nights. Sounds small when typed out, but anyone with kids knows just how long two days can be. Shoot, two hours can seem like eternity sometimes! This was our first two-nighter with the kids.
I'll admit, we arrived on grumbly notes. Busy from the days before, stressed out, ready to relax. Having to unload the car and remember how to set up a tent, while trying to keep two boys from fighting, stomping on the tent, and playing in the mess left by previous campers isn't exactly the mood setter.
But we cleaned up the site. We moved rebuilt the fire-pit in a safer spot. We set up our tent in a clearing along the creek. We let go and let the kids play in the creek. When you really are looking for zen, you won't find it. When you let go, it will come to you.
Being out in the woods fills you with peace and serenity down to your toes. As we would walk along the path back to the entrance, we could smell honeysuckle in the morning, though we couldn't immediately spot it. The sweetness filled the air. Leaves rustling in the breeze, babbling creek, poets and writers have said it all much better than I.
It was the letting go for me. Letting the kids run and play. The creek was shallow, so we let them play in it and build dams, through rocks, splash around. We brought stuff to help keep them busy: a frisbee, baseball and gloves, a couple toy nets with a ball, and glowsticks for the evening.
Justin and I were able to do our own things while the kids did theirs. He played guitar, I read and took photographs. We weren't ignoring each other (or the kids), we were all able to operate and function harmoniously at the same time.
We got to notice nature around us. Big spiders, baby birds in a nest in the shelter, butterflies galore, a brightly colored centipede, deer bounding through, and fish caught from the river. Most of these things we don't have in our own backyard. Even butterflies are something we miss here. We've been happy to note that each year we seem to get another butterfly, so progress is being made, but to see them fill the air around you is something else entirely.
Of course, we did have our grumbly and growly moments too, but that also is part of life. They were moments, but they weren't defining ones.
The defining memories will be: the boys watching Justin keep the centipede on a stick while I took pictures; sitting around the fire, the boys already in their pajamas, jamming with Daddy; laying in the tent, trying to get everyone to take a nap, feeling the breeze come through the screens as we lay in the shade of trees high above and listened to the stream; the satisfaction of catching your own dinner; the silliness of making faces for the camera; the tribal silliness of boys and glowsticks; the tree that arched over the trail; knowing that we didn't leave the spot as we had found it, we cleaned it up and restored some health to it; Tristan calling our camping site "the backyard"; Shannon declaring it the "best camping trip EVER" (even if he did that before we ever left the house!).
That is Zen for me.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a blog at where I feature people's posts about camping, and I would like to send my readers your way. Of course I would give you credit for quotes and would link back to your site.

Thanks for considering this,

Jean B. in SC

Carrie and Justin said...

Go for it, thanks! :)