Recharging the batteries around the campfire
Truth be known, I didn’t really think camping was a good idea this weekend.
Typically, I’m up for anything, but with the big move and other things piling up on my horizon, I wasn’t convinced that any sort of deviation from focus was a good idea. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I’m glad that others in my household were more insistent.
So, after spending most of Friday packing (I owe a great debt of gratitude to my dear friend Tiffany and her family for helping me), we managed to pack up and leave town as the late afternoon sunrays fell over Whitley County. There were a few bumps along the way that took us off track and with each one, I wondered if maybe we just shouldn’t go. Maybe we should just go back home. It was a good thing I wasn’t driving or we just might have gone back home – which would have resulted in 75% of my household being incredibly unhappy.
By evening, we arrived in Elkhart in time to find friends we see about once a year all gathered around a campfire, waiving as we rolled in with the ’59 Avion. Everyone there owned an Avion, but a good many were a few generations newer…ours was the oldest one there and despite our arrival toward the end of the rally, they’d saved the front row spot for our shining example of the brand’s history.
No sooner had we pulled through our campsite, friends were already coming over to see us – extending handshakes and plenty of hugs, as glad to see us as we were to see them. It was then that I realized how glad I was that we set all the things we felt we had to do aside to do something we really wanted to do.
There’s a lot to love about camping – the simplicity of worrying about basic things, enjoying the great outdoors, avoiding the distractions of our everyday lives. There’s also a lot to enjoy about camping with others. For that reason, I always look forward to the camping adventures we have with fellow Avion owners. We’ve now gone to Michigan, Kentucky and various points in Indiana together over the past four years. After countless nights around campfires, rainy days in pavilions, games, laughter and other time spent together, you almost wish you could see everyone more frequently – but in a lot of ways, this makes once or twice a year camping trips so much fun and something we always look forward to.
As I sat around the campfire Friday evening, something important occurred to me. Here we were, in the darkness, staring into a blaze fueled by pine relating to one another. I heard stories about people I will likely never meet – and yet they were meaningful and wonderful and relevant in my own life. When you’re camping in a group like this, you leave the trappings of your everyday life at home. No one knows (or cares) how much money you make, what you have or what you don’t. It’s just about enjoying time, relaxing and relating to one another where you are, when you’re there. The things that prevent us from understanding each other are not there. Our view of other people is not obstructed by the things in life that divide us – rather, we are drawn together by what we have in common and it’s easy when there is little complication in that. How great it is that people could just enjoy other people when they don’t allow silly divisions like age or socioeconomic status to get in the way. How wonderful it would be if we could all relate to one another, to those we encounter in everyday life, in this way. Imagine if our cars, homes and the other trappings in our life didn’t divide us – but put us closer together, elbow to elbow, like we are around a campfire?
Saturday was as blissful as Friday – napping in the camper, windows open, breeze blowing the vintage linen curtains. I couldn’t help but grin with delight upon awaking from my nap, pulling the fluffy chenille bedspread up to my chin and taking in a deep breath of the unseasonably cool air and seeing the blue sky out the window above my bed. It was a day of group meals, catching up, reading gossip magazines, listening to the radio and purposefully doing a whole lot of nothing. It was wonderful and, for us, a rare treat – and a glimpse into what life may one day be in our retirement years like so many of our friends in the group who are already retired or semi-retired. What must it be like to live an exciting life on the road, going where the wind takes you, seeing new sites and old friends with such frequency?
But as with any good time, Sunday morning came and it was time to pack up and head home to reality: big changes in our lives this week. Yet, because of the opportunity for quieting of the soul, slowing of the pace, I think we will face this week with more tenacity and vigor. I should be quick to say will be a very good week for our family, one we have been looking forward to for a long time – it will just be a busy one with little time to breathe or reflect on what’s happening.