A late post about summer camping

Apparently my last post about the heat was the equivalent of a rain dance. Tuesday morning around 5:30 a downpour started that didn’t let up until afternoon. There were flash flood warnings on phones across the state, and this time they were for real. IMG_4227

My car is low to the ground. At one point I worried I might be that girl, stuck in a flood, rescued by helicopter from the roof of my Mini Cooper. I wasn’t that girl, thankfully, and I did finally make it to lunch. Even though it is raining again right now, this post is not about the delightful, incredible rainstorm that drowned my doldrummy side and let the joyful Phoenista back into the world. Instead, lets talk camping.

Over the summer – on one of my dad’s better weeks – we loaded our Jeep and his pickup with tents, stoves, fake fires, clothes, blow-up beds, sleeping bags, long underwear, and a dog and headed up to the White Mountains.

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You might notice that Lola is not really a camping dog. She likely won’t be invited back.

Everyone else had a grand time. (My grandmother used to say that. “We had a grand time.”)

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Nick doesn’t really like to fish as much as he likes to hang out in the boat.

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Joe, Jack and my dad think fishing is the bomb.

That last photo is about halfway through my dad’s chemo treatments. You’ll notice he kept his hair and his sunny disposition. We all weathered the cancer storm as best we could and it was inspiring to watch him fight through something so difficult.

I pretend to live my life in the moment, and be grateful for what I have and recognize the beauty in the most difficult situations. This experience has taught me that I need to step up my game in practicing what I claim to be my own values. I spend more time than I should worrying about too many things – what will happen in the future, what people think of me, how I need to lose weight, what I should do with my career.

The second night of our trip Jack had an asthma attack right before bed. I was able to get him calm and asleep, but it rattled me as it always does. I lie awake for many hours listening to my family sleep around me. At around ten, an owl started hooting in the far distance, with a crow answering. I listened as they traveled closer – hunting, or exploring, or who knows what.

It freaked me out. Owls are symbolic of death. I’m already terrified enough, I don’t need some literary archetype showing up in my campsite to scare me further. And on top of all of this I had to pee! I am grateful that I spent a great deal of time in the wilderness in my younger days and I know how to do my business quickly without accident. Walking back to the tent, I’m certain the owl was flying silently right behind my head, because his next call made me jump. I finally fell asleep a bit later after the wildlife left me in peace.

The boys started school today and it was a joy to see the returning families and meet new people. “How was your summer?” is such a common question, and for me the answer is difficult and not short. It was terrible to sit in chemo treatments, it was hot, I struggled to keep up at work during such emotional turmoil. I was also reminded to be joyful and grateful more than I usually am. So in all it was a summer to remember, I suppose.


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