Friday, January 18, 2008

Peeking your head out

Waking up in a tent and first peering out at the world with the light just breaking over the horizon is an absolute treasure especially if I smell bacon. Now that I am the one cooking the bacon I hurry on out of the tent to get it going. Some of the most vivid memories I have are stepping out of a tent. 
In high school, my family and I camped across Europe one summer. The most beautiful scenery I have ever witnessed to this day is somewhere in England between London and Cantebury. Tent camping in Europe is not quite the same as it is in the states, mainly you just plop down your tent in a very large field, not like the groomed spots associated with car camping here. Anyway, back to England. It was maybe 5 am and I was really jet-lagged so I hadn't been asleep for a while. I noticed that light was breaking and decided to venture out, walked across the grass and through some trees to day's first light hitting a barley field. It was pure gold and shimmery and the most radiant view ever. Later into the trip we were in Germany and it had consistently rained for 10 days, I woke up and heard my Mom packing up and declaring get a move on kids we are heading to Italy. I stuck my head out of the tent and for the first time noticed the very very green blue water down the hill from us and was told it was a glacier lake. At the time I was so excited at the prospect of sun I didn't appreciate seeing the lake. Later still in Scotland I woke to find sheep grazing right in front of my tent. It was my 17th birthday. 
In Southern Illinois where friends and I would camp in high school I didn't have any spectacular sights to greet me, one very cold morning in February I did wake up very happy I hadn't frozen to death and disappointed at the lack of bacon.  Waking up to soaking wet clothes and having to put them on and get back on a horse to ride to your bacon is a mixed blessing. But I wouldn't trade that Colorado memory. Or waking to the start of 400+ mile bike ride across Iowa. Yet, to wake up after a night of no sleep and realize that your arms are indeed still broken, there is no bacon, but you don't have to break down camp is also a mixed blessing but one I could certainly do without. In New Mexico I stuck my head out the night after a coyote party to see paw prints right in front of my tent. My favorite: waking up to magpies jumping around on top of the family tent my son declaring "those birds are crazy", my daughter squealing, and seeing my love's face. Then having to cook the bacon.

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