This morning, I woke up very early (5:40) and exercised for 30 minutes. How cool is that? I feel really good, too. No doubt I was capable of this amazing feet because all of the character building I got from eating Mexican food on Saturday night, which was the reward I gave myself for enduring camping.
So, you are all anxious to hear about how the camping went, right? Of course right. (What play is that from?)
To start out with, it was beautiful weather--gorgeous, in fact. That was nice. One of the guys there asked me if didn't have to admit that it was fun being together with the guys. To which I replied, "Yes, but we can do this at Steak and Shake, too." Another happy camper pointed out that the post-campout nap feels so incredible. To which I observed, "Yes, but the reason it feels good is because you are exhausted from a really crummy night's sleep."
The other thing I noticed is that all the heavy-duty campers have all these gadgets and gizmos that enable them to have all the conveniences of home--cool mattresses and nifty lights and so on. This begs the question--if you are excited to be in nature, why do you feel compelled to spend money to buy as many things to help you feel at home as possible?Riddle me that.
Anyway, Meredith came and met me after work on Friday. She had a car laden with equipment and sons. We switched cars and took off. Meredith to blissful quiet and comfort of our home, me to the excitement of camping! Woo-hoo!
Now, let me interject something at this point. The entire and only reason I consented to this event was that I wanted to be a good dad (especially since I don't anticipate Social Security will exist when I retire, so I'll need a place to live in my dotage). My three sons (one had to go to a school thing, leaving three) all wanted to go. The younger two were just excited about camping and Mere assured me that they would have a wonderful time romping around, free and happy like little ponies, running to and fro with their friends (she didn't phrase it quite like that). My teenager was looking forward to a repeat of last year's intense game of capture the flag.
We drove about an hour and go there about 7:30. The boys got out and ran around. About 20 minutes later, my 3 year old came up and told me he was tired and wanted to go to bed. So much for romping. I went and got him in the tent, all snug and comfy, then stayed with him while he fell asleep.
When he was asleep, I emerged from the tent. There was my 8 year old. He, too, was tired and ready for bed. So, I put him in bed and went to bed, too. So much for romping.
And, since there were not many other teenagers (their fathers being too smart to fall for the "they'll have so much fun" line, I guess), there was no--wait for it--capture the flag!
Happily, my good friend let us stay in his tent because I forgot to mention another thing I hate about camping. You set up the tent, then you sleep in it, the you pack it up, then you go home and set it up again to let it dry off and air out, and then you pack it up again. In other words, for one night's sleep you set it up twice and take it down twice. That is an efficiency rate that would make even an employee at the DMV blush.
So, we stayed in his tent so he is the one who had to do all the setting up and taking down twice. He also made a wonderful breakfast the next morning.
Then we went home. And I took a nap, which did, I admit, feel good. However, my naps always feel good anyway, so I'm not convinced.
That night, I sat out on my deck. I looked out the beautiful woods, with the sun setting above the trees. I inhaled the sweet air and basked in the evening cool. I felt close to God and was filled gratitude for living in such a beautiful place. I typed as much on my Facebook status, which was possible because of electricity and wi-fi. Then I walked inside. And enjoyed Mexican food. And life was good. Inside and out.