Monday, October 4, 2010

Family Versus Wild

We done went campin' over the weekend. A helicopter dropped our entire family by parachute into the untamed mesquite forests of central Texas where we had to forage for food and then bushwhack our way back to civilization using nothing but a pair of drinking straws and a Swiss Army Knife.

It was awesome.

OK, part of that was true. The part about camping. We did indeed camp for one night at the lovely Canyon of the Eagles, where we saw no actual eagles, but did see a coyote, a couple armadillos, turkey vultures, a Texas Spiny Lizard, hawks, etc.

A few single friends from our home meeting joined us, and were nice enough to do the grocery shopping, so you better believe we had camping junk food galore.

Also, the Dixons (yes, the same Dixons we nearly always wander with; our families seem to come in a handy travel-size two-pack) came along. This is how that happened. On Saturday morning at 11:00, we called them and said, "Hey, we know you're probably busy and need more notice, but any chance you want to come camping with us this afternoon?" "Sure," they said.

Then they proceeded to get to the campground, ninety minutes away, HALF AN HOUR BEFORE US. Fully packed. Whereas we got there and had sweet little marital conversations like this:

"Dear, did you bring a sponge?"

"Light of my life,  how about the camping lantern?"
"Um. The camping lantern?"

Clearly, if you have the opportunity to venture into the wilderness with the Diller family as your source of survival, you might want to pursue other options. Like running very fast in the opposite direction.

(Yes, we may have been stumbling around in the dark, but at least we had a cool Bumbler-Identification Sign, inspired by an article in Family Fun that was written by the amazing Nicole Blum.) 

Highlights: Gazing at the swarms of stars out there and getting to see Jupiter through telescopes provided by the Austin Astronomical Society. Singing around the campfire. Eating Tin Turtles. Watching the kids climb trees and hunt for grasshoppers.

Lowlights: Having a headache. Realizing that here we were in beautiful natural surroundings and -- perhaps because we were only there for one night and camping involves so much labor -- it was still hard for me to just sit still and not think about what we were going to do next and whether everyone was having a good time. And wondering how many nights it would take of being away from it all to get my brain to truly slow down and release every shred of its neuroses.

Maybe just catching oneself in that kind of thought pattern is half the battle. Making the conscious decision to just focus on right now, on the grandeur around us, instead of worrying over the past or trying to plan the details of an unpromised future. This song floated through my head:
"Lord, save me from the past; 
And save me from the future. 
Yesterday is over;
 Tomorrow may not be ..."

Maybe that's why we all need a little time, untethered, in the great outdoors.


cjoy said...

You may have forgotten your lantern and sponge, but it sounds like you knew who to invite camping - well-prepared and snack-laden friends. Good planning, Hannah! ;D

JoAnn said...

Well, that's another item from you October to-do list to check off. I have to admit that camping for me has never been all that relaxing. You have to steal a few moments now and then and just focus on the scenery and the here-and-now to get any enjoyment out of it at all. I am at the stage in life where hanging out on our hammock is the better option. In fact, a single sister came out yesterday and spent two hours in that hammock, declaring that she had never in her whole life felt as relaxed as she had for those two hours. Maybe you should come out sans kids sometime and try that. It's available!

Anna said...

Your first paragraph had me on the seat of my chair!

nicole said...

Hey Hannah,
Thanks so much for linking to me and being so darn sweet! I am really glad you found things inspiring and I hope you keep coming back. I haven't been blogging much lately, but my intentions are good. I LOVE your blog and everything you have to say!

Jessica said...

T'was fun, for sure! The star gazing was my favorite part as well and I very much enjoyed our little side hunts for bacon and pancake syrup together.