I sat at the kitchen table with my dear friends. We were mulling over summer vacations, playing through the various events that had transpired, musing about next summer’s destinations. (well, as an aside, it should be noted that I was merely smiling at everyone jealously, not having actually left my house all summer long)(well, except for the brief kidnapping to Timberlake’s I happily endured). I mentioned all the camping trips we had canceled this summer, and a chorus of groans ensued.
“Aren’t you so glad you got out of those!”
“There’s nothing worse than bugs and sweat and dirt”
“Sleeping on the ground! Why would anyone willingly subject themselves to that?”
“I’d rather be burned at the stake than have to camp in the wilderness!”
OK, so those aren’t actual quotes as much as they reflect the overall tenor of the conversation. You still with me?
I suddenly felt sheepish. “Ummm, I love camping.” Silence. “Sorry.”
Am I alone? Certainly I’m not. Every summer, as we head out to some new and unknown wilderness, we’re thronged by hundreds of other suburbanites yanking their dome tents out of their mini-vans, scorching marshmallows and singing off key at the campfire. It’s only when we really leave civilization — when we backpack into the mountains for a week — that we ever truly lose touch with human kind. So, since I know I’m not the only one camping at the state park every summer (I’ve seen you there), I know I can’t be the only person that actually likes it.
You will kindly notice that I refer solely to myself. I’m quite certain there are few, if any, little children in the western world who think living in the dirt for a week is a bad idea. So, in that regard, kids aren’t part of this equation. So, you. Adults of this world. What’s the deal? In our church, camping seems almost doctrinal. We dutifully shuffle our children away each year to Scout camp, Girls Camp, the Klondike Derby, the YW Huff-n-Puff. Why the sour taste? Do you camp, but hate it? Do you refuse to camp under any circumstances? Do you love it?
I’m going camping this week (I’m actually already gone). I’ve managed to go on just this one trip this summer. My father-in-law is bringing me a bed — an actual mattress, just so I can safely venture my swollen brain into the wilderness to listen to the water rustle by, feel the wind blowing through camp, smell the s’mores cooking in the fire, and wake up to the sunrise coming over the mountains in the middle of nowhere. I’ll see ya’ there.