Waking up to the sun spilling across the water is a magical sight. I've searched and searched for an adequate word to describe the sparkling fireworks of diamonds that dance on the water when the light hits the moving water. It is just the most mesmerizing vision, especially for someone who likes "shiny" things. I'm a huge fan of having my coffee sitting at the edge of the water, absorbing the early sun and basking in the morning quiet. It doesn't get any better than this. If the day ended right here, I'd be totally satisfied. But it doesn't.
Another favorite part of camping is living at the water; having your outdoor kitchen in full view of the lake, swimming, kayaking, lazing, playing in the sand. Perhaps I'm more of a sun worshipper than God intended, but I just love soaking up the sun, jumping in the water to cool off, laying back down in the sun and repeating often. (And if a cold beer snuck up on me, I wouldn't send it back where it came from.)
In the absence of TV and computers, there is plenty of time to devour a good book or two. We always bring games to play especially in the evening. Usually games that use cards because they are small and easy to pack. In addition to games played with a deck of cards like hearts and rummy, we played Quiddler, Flinch and the "Bean Game" (Bohnanza). This is a clever and strategic game that is different than anything I've ever played, and I've played a lot of games. If you like games, check it out. The expansion pack of High Bohn is great fun and once you've mastered the original bean game Bohnanza, well worth trying too.
And of course last, but certainly not least is the campfire. Camping life revolves around acquiring wood for the fire, (scouring the woods for downed wood, scavenging empty sites for wood left behind, and waiting for the wood truck to come when you are desperate enough to buy wood) starting the fire, (everyone wants to build the fire, because there is the hope that this time will be the time that I can build the perfect fire and it will take off quickly and easily and everyone will be impressed with my fire building prowess, but in reality, some fires just don't want to light and no matter how much newspaper or kindling you try to add, you end up feeling dejected that the fire held out on you) and keeping the fire stoked and burning until that late night time when you decide to just watch the embers glow and not add any more wood because you have to go to bed soon.
I've loved camping almost as long as I can remember. Our family vacations as kids always involved camping. I had no idea at that age that it was the only vacation we could afford, it was a tradition and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. When you ask my brother or sister or me what our favorite childhood memory(s) is/are we all will say "camping". Camping was a time we could count on all being together. My Dad in particular went camping with us, while the rest of the time he was usually busy working at least two jobs. Playing games was always part of the camping fun as kids too. My siblings and I have all remained family game players with our families and I know that goes back to playing games camping as kids.
The unspoken attraction of camping is that it strips away so many of life's distractions, places us back in the natural world and reminds us of how wonderful it is to live simply. We spent time talking about camping as a retirement lifestyle. We discussed whether we'd ever give up our tent for a camper. We talk about downsizing to one vehicle and a motorcycle and traveling from campground to campground. While retirement seems a long time off, the next camping trip isn't. We remind ourselves of the importance of living in the moment, and not putting off till tomorrow what will bring us joy today, for tomorrow may never come.
What pleasures are you saving for tomorrow that you could be enjoying today? Live everyday like it's a gift and be thankful for what you have right now. And Go Camping! You'll be glad you did.