We went camping this weekend. We go camping every Memorial Day weekend, but this one was the first one I can remember EVER where it did not rain. And I’m not just talking a little bit of rain either. Usually we get bombarded, lambasted and saturated by Texas spring storms, complete with tornado warnings and all. But not this year. Nope. This year we were greeted with 95 degree weather with 95% humidity. And we let the sweat pour freely. We luxuriated in it, if I may go so far.
(For the remainder of this post, when I say “we,” I really only mean “I.” When I go camping, I like to speak of myself in multiples.)
We love camping because it’s okay to sweat. We love camping because it’s one of the two times of year when we wear shorts and we don’t care that our legs are funny-shaped, white with huge black bruises and some kind of unidentified itchy rash all over. We don’t wear makeup or fix our hair and we call it good. We live with strangers quite close in their campsites all around us and we talk as if we know one another. Nobody looks stressed as they sit in their lawn chairs with their dinners cooking on the grill, while they talk Columbian politics and church history. Dogs bark, kids play and nobody knows what time it is. Kids ride on the back of tailgates on their way to the pool. People play miniature golf in their swimsuits. It is a land of peaceful lawlessness. Kids don’t have to wear helmets in this land as they ride their bikes all over the campground that they own. Well, some kids do, but we don’t talk to those kids. Their parents are probably the ones in the air-conditioned trailers that cost as much as my house did, with their satellite dishes attached out in the grass next to my tent. Don’t get me wrong, we do not look down our noses at these people. We just do not talk to them, because they don’t come out of their trailers, except to ride their bikes with helmets on their heads.
We take lots of pictures when we camp so that years from now, we can look back and remember the joy and the love and the good times and not remember at all how much work it all was for mom. (Me, being mom) A friend yesterday accused me of using my photography as a way of rewriting history. Maybe. But we like it that way. It’s more glamorous. And glamour is not such a bad goal.
Yesterday I drove home from camping. The car was completely packed with dirty, sweaty (but not rain-soaked!) clothes, tents, bedding, dog and kids. Two of the kids sat in my back seat, sun-burnt and exhausted, looking out their respective windows, lost in their thoughts as music played on the iPod through the car speakers. With the vast Texas landscape flying by outside our windows and the air-conditioning blowing hard enough inside to make our hair move a little, a song came on that I had never heard before. It made me extra grateful for the weekend that I had just spent, surrounded by loved ones, and extra hopeful for all that is to come. It made me cry. I turned it up and let the music stir my soul as I drove home. I even passed a road sign telling me how far it was to Poetry, Texas, if I just turned that way. Poetry, Texas. Someday I will turn that way. But for now, I’m grateful for the poetry that already fills my life.
I attach the song here now, for your listening enjoyment as you look through my million and one history-rewriting pictures. (It’s Irvin Mayfield, playing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”)
Oh, and Grace’s talent show video is still on its way. It’s just experiencing some minor technical difficulties. Hopefully, it will be my next post.