Monday, August 29, 2011

Camping, part one. Thunder and light.

I didn't want to come home. Who needs showers, electricity, the internet, or a home equipped with modern-day conveniences? Ok, we would have eventually run out of propane and camera-battery life, causing our defeated march back to civilization.

I awoke Thursday night to both the pain of sleeping pregnant on the ground and a subtle sound of thunder, miles away. The raise and fall of little-boy's chests, along with the familiar, soft snore from the man I love, filled my aching bones with comfort and peace. Unable to rest completely, my mind moved with heavy storm-clouds outside. The sky lit noon for an instant, one-onethousand, two-onethosand, three-onethousand, four-onethousand, CRASH.

I wondered, should I wake them? I wondered, how do I know if I am feeling prompted from on high or if I am just overly fearful? Be still. Light, one-onethousand, two-onethousand, three-onethousand, CRASH. Should I wake him, if only to hold his hand in the flickering darkness? No, he lays so calmly. No. Flash, one-one-thousand, CRASH. "Honey, wake up! Let's get in the car."

He roused to the sound of thunder-resonating through the small valley, bouncing for minutes and multiplying with fresh claps. The sky strobed like that one room in every haunted house, causing a similar, slight horror. And then the rain.

One by one we gathered our tiny babes into our shaky arms. The car was safety, possibly only in our minds, but our shaking arms and nerves relaxed into a peace and gratitude for our sweet family all huddled together. The baby snored on. The older boys asked question after question until we were expounding to them the thoughts of our hearts and our great love of God and one another. There, in the middle of the night, the forest, the storm, we felt our family draw closer together. I wouldn't trade that wet, spooky night for a free stay in the nicest resort-spa available.

The beautiful sun came to dry our soggy camp. And oh, so many salamanders to make glad.

In a family recreation class that I took once, we spoke often of the great blessings of camping together as a family; increased team-work and problem-solving skills, greater appreciation for day-to-day ease at home, a chance to heal strained bonds without the distraction of a busy day.

Not to mention learning self-reliance skills from more experienced family and friends.

If we were wealthy, I think we would miss out sometimes on marvelous, simple experiences. I think we might, were our bank accounts brimming, send ourselves to Disneyland and Hawaiian resorts with all the comforts available. I am thankful we are where we are. I am thankful we must be creative in our recreation. I am thankful for water balloons, and cups and buckets, and for tug-of-war rope. And beloved friends and family to share these simple pleasures.

Through the darkest nights and brightness of day, my heart is filled with gratitude for a the simple moments that knit our family tighter.

Oh, sweet joy.

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