People all have their special place where they feel alive. When peace is felt all around and you have a glance at what it means to be free. For me, that special place is camping in the woods. No cities or towns, no highways, just you and your family with your imagination. When I was younger our family vacation was packing food and a tent and going up in the woods. In my eyes I was taking an adventure to a place I longed to go. It was a second home to me, being there surrounded by nature, I felt that I belonged. My heart felt overflowing and complete those days I spent camping.
Camping in Washington really gave me a sense that I was in a forest. The trees surrounded us, growing tall and green. The air was clean and the sound of birds and the wind through the leaves was peaceful. We passed our time before going anywhere drawing in the dirt, playing cards, or just talking by the camp fire. At times we were the first ones at the camping site and animal critters would come and visit. The two chipmunks that hung around our camp site we named Chip and Dale like the Disney characters. Dale was a little shy and didn’t get to close to us, while Chip was easily enticed by unsalted peanuts. We would make a trail on the ground that led up our legs and leave a little pile of peanuts on our laps. I was very still and quiet as Chip slowly made his way toward me and climbed up my leg. When he reached my lap he sat down and quickly munched away with no sight of fear. Chip’s fur looked so soft that I slowly reached my hand out to touch him, but he saw my hand out of the corner of his eye and quickly skittered off my lap.
I vividly remember a time when we were visiting by the camp fire laughing and talking when all of a sudden we all went quiet. My dad, being the only one that couldn’t see what was behind him, had a puzzled look on his face as we stared at him. When he finally realized something must be behind him he slowly turned his head and saw a face of a Doe with its tongue out about to lick his head. He shot like a rocket out of his chair and then we all began laughing and talking again.
My mom would often have my brother and I fetch some water out of the creek by the camp site in order to heat it and use it to wash dishes and our hands. While on our trip I found a frog that still had its tail. I was so shocked and happy I scooped the frog into my hands and rushed to the camp site to show my mom, since she loves frogs. Everyone enjoyed looking at the small frog and after the viewing was done my mom encouraged me to take it back to the place I found it so it could return to its own family.
One time we went on a little walk up the road for a little hike. Walking a little ways up we started smelling something sweet nearby. We stopped and turned around in fear of perhaps running into a bear. Evening was setting in by this time and that’s when the bats started showing up. Note: When you find yourself surrounded by bats pick up a stick, swing it over your head, holler and run like the dickens. Take it from voice of experience. After getting back to the camp site we would relax and tell stories, sing, and of course make s’mores.
We felt at home in the woods, especially when visitors came. Our family members would drive up and spend the morning or evening with us. Forest rangers even came by to have some coffee and cookies that my mother made special for the trip. I remember waking up to laughter by the camp fire and hurrying out of the tent so I wouldn’t miss anything.
These memories will always have a special place in my heart. Those camping trips were like a treasure to me no matter how simple they were. In my opinion the more simple a trip is the more relaxing and enjoyable it is. It is what helped me to have a vivid imagination. It helped fuel my creative writing and now writing is the only way I can relive those moments. I often find myself daydreaming that I live in the forest, running between the trees with my animal friends. That’s where my heart longs to be, out there experiencing God’s creation.
About the Author: Jessica Greer is 20 years old and lives in Washington State. She enjoys taking pictures, drawing anime, and writing poems and stories. She is hoping to finish the books she has started and creating a comic book with anime styled characters. She is also working on hand writing poem books for her love ones. If you would like reading some of her poems, her web page is http://www.writerscafe.org/Littlemiss (Note: You must have a profile to the website in order to view her poems.)