"Krotts, K-r-o-t-t-s," Dustin pronounced to the middle age woman in the booth. Her pointer fingered pressed against the paper in hand, moving downward as her eyes scanned. "Ah yes, here you are. Y'all know where site C9 is?" she asked. "I think so," Dustin replied, but she proceeded just the same, "Just go up this hill and it's the third section on the right." "Thanks," Dustin acknowledged as he rolled up the window and slowly drove away. "So where's this at?" he mumbled half turning towards me.
I tilted my head back against the seat and smiled. The country roads that led us to the campgrounds of Hueston Woods State Park still in the forefront of my mind. The long wildflower grasses and sunflowers - a yellow blurred line as my eyes squinted out the window of our car whooshing down the highway. Old wood, horses, rustic colors - burnt oranges, cocoa colors and nut browns drawn on my eyelids. Already my skin tingled with excitement, our adventure was only beginning.
C9 was the perfect home for several days. A corner spot, it lay on the brim of the woods. A humble spread of grass containing a fire-pit and table greeted us upon our arrival. We quickly setup camp, an activity in iteslf. After all, this was my first REAL camping experience. The extending of poles, hammering of stakes, crinkling polyester sound flapping in the breeze, tying and untying knots somehow felt like an old acquaintance. This must be a part of my spirit.
A perfect night followed by a clean morning, hushed fog, the sounds of children chirping in the distance. Just one flap away from it all. A slim piece of material was all that separated the embrace of my husband's arms around me in the tiny cove we called our home from the morning dew.
We enjoyed our morning coffee outdoors, saved from the filth of dimly lit living rooms and suffocating walls. Endless scrolling of social media feeds was replaced with sun particles' first revelation of a picture. Nature has a way of slapping you upside your head and turning you inside out without saying a single word. Before, all I could see between black curled mascara eyelashes were raw silk dresses cleanly pressed in my closet. Shoes, neatly perched in a row, ending with the new brown leathered Frye. How far from important and how impractical this now seemed.
I love the freedom of a new place. Daily patterns are dissolved without argument. The actions we take have meaning and thought and aren't simply mindless routine. Each minute forces me into the present. Every moment is a chance to be the person I want to be. I'm not confined by the past and boxes I've put myself in and conditioned others to put me in. There is no possibility of stating, "but we've always done it this way."
Hanging out in nature restores the soul of my childhood. The spirit that is eager to explore, unafraid to take a risk, who doesn't mind a little mud. I've been so afraid of being coined a girly-girl or tomboy that in the process of avoiding stereotypes and riding the line of gray I've forgotten who I really am. I'm reminded that being feminine can also include being sporty. I'm taken back to the roots of myself, untainted by magazines and advertisements, wild and free.
Vegetables cut outdoors, dinners spent by firesides, root beers and cream sodas strongly flavored against the green hued background of trees. Contemplative thoughts and conversations followed by minutes of pause, captivated by fire flames. Walking the grounds as each niche contained a circle of friends and family. These are the evenings worth remembering.
As much as I would like to make C9 my new camp home and I'm sure I'll revisit one day, I am even more inspired to explore new territory. A moment cannot be recreated and I must continue to create as new days unfold. There are new places with new lessons. Each landscape and territory holds wisdom of its own. I can think of a million excuses why I should stay contained indoors in the comfort and safety of my own home and I often claim exploring is out of my control, but I am learning that these experiences don't just come ringing my doorbell on their own. They require a step by me. I must first get up off the couch and walk outside. It is impossible to let the wind take me away when I've built a structure to block it. So I urge you all because it helps remind myself - step outside today, get some fresh air, it will truly do wonders.