Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Camping and Love

The first time I went camping was with my husband. He told me he would take care of everything. I was skeptical but in love so I would try it. We arrived at our campsite after sundown. Lewis pitched our tent using the car headlights. The next morning he prepared breakfast and I tried to work out the pains in my back from sleeping on a rock. We had a great day tromping around the park and found time for a nap – after the tent was moved to a better spot. Lewis cooked all the meals, set up the tent, did the dishes, and everything else. I was in awe at the same time I was very disturbed about not helping.

This was something he really enjoyed doing, so I determined to find some way I could be a help in this great adventure – after all, I was in love and did not want to disappoint my love. The next trip I decided I could cook and began searching for recipes and ideas. Things went well and I was encouraged to try camping again.

What I discovered was I really liked camping. Not because of the comforts or even the spectacular places we stayed, but because it gave Lewis and I a chance to be together – no phones, no TV, no distractions. Since we had a family immediately upon getting married, camping provided a way for us to get together as a family and the cost was minimal. Camping provided the family time to do silly things, to learn about nature, and get some much needed exercise of the body and mind.

When camping you have fewer things to “help” you – like a vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator. This means you have the opportunity to invent the best way to do things – so there is no wrong way – there is the camping way. Cooking is very important when you are camping. Camping offers plenty of opportunities for improving and developing your cooking skills. Camp cooking should be fun and even funny – sometimes things are burned, you remind everyone you are roughing it and somehow the food tastes great! Other times you won’t have everything you need so you substitute (orange soda for milk in pancakes), after all you are roughing it and again the food will taste great! The memories are wonderful.

Since I was not an accomplished camper when we began, I had to be taught. I would ask my husband how to roll the sleeping bags, or how to wash dishes using the least amount of water. He taught me how to pitch a tent. Somewhere along the way, I saw that learning these camping skills from my husband taught my children a lot too. They learned I loved and respected my husband, that I sought his advice and followed it. They learned Dad is the leader of the family and is to be respected.

Our children are grown, but we still camp – albeit not in a tent. We still camp for the same reasons we started – it gives us time to be together, to explore this world God created, and it is an inexpensive holiday. We have grown a lot through our camping adventures, our children have memories of fun and nature from our camping vacations, and we all appreciate the things that are most important – each other and our world. Camping has taught us to be resourceful, grateful, flexible, and even forging. I learned to camp some 30 years ago when I first fell in love, and I find that today I am still in love with Lewis.