I went camping with a friend last summer at a time when we both needed a serious break.
The campsite was a short drive from our city which made the trip easy enough to navigate. The weather was holding out for us, unlike the last time we tried camping in October, where the sites were deserted, there were thunderstorms and pouring rain while the temperatures hung steady at about 5 degrees Celsius all weekend. This time around it was thankfully in the double digits and we had more sun than we knew what to do with.
Once we got our site set up, we unpacked the trunk and my friend put his cooking classes to good use, putting together a quinoa salad with cucumber, tomato and feta cheese, alongside a salad with lettuce, loads of veggies and a makeshift vinegar dressing. I don’t know what I did to get that lucky to have friends who could put that all together with minimal camping food but I was so grateful.
Before we went wandering through the campground, I marvelled at our little setup, feeling so happy to be getting away from the city for another weekend. I was also secretly really proud of knowing how to put my tent back together so quickly after not using it for several months.
Life was a little topsy turvy at the time and it was safe to call it a little mental health break away from the world while I regrouped and recharged my batteries.
Looking back, at that time I was so caught up in hoping that life would be turning out differently than it had up to that point. If I were to say that Winter and Spring were easy I would be lying because they were some of the hardest times I’ve faced in years. I kept searching for that easy fix or something to save me from a life that made me long for some peace and a little more sanity. What I didn’t understand then is that this is literally the only chance we get, beyond platitudes served up on greeting cards, the pace of life isn’t something to be fought, especially if it’s still taking us somewhere we can make something great from. It really is a matter of learning to gracefully go with the flow even if it requires making some tough decisions along the way.
After arriving met up with a friend who had a seasonal trailer (that look way more like cottages, if we’re being honest) who invited us to spend time with their friends, chatting over a campfire, listening to some music while enjoying some wine.
If there’s one thing I didn’t anticipate it’s the kindness of people we’d just met that weekend, sharing food and welcoming us to their sites for conversation and stories.
Where I stayed back and went to sleep at my usual fairly early time, my friend went to a dance happening at the main building. What I couldn’t wait for was the morning when the dew clung to the grass and the skies brightened to make way for another day; That was the dance and song I really couldn’t wait to waltz along to.
I went back to the sanctuary of dimmer light through tinted windows, curled up under the blankets to say a few prayers of gratitude before getting ready to truly greet the day. I slept in the car that night because the one thing I learned is that coyotes are louder than you might think when a thin piece of canvas separates you from their yips and howling songs. Sleeping so well the night before having opted for the car, was definitely something to be grateful for.
While my friend slept off his night of dancing into the early hours of the morning, I went for a walk around the campground. I found a vendor at the front of the grounds, selling coffee and I nearly dove behind the counter to hug them, I was so grateful. While wandering with my coffee in hand, I stumbled upon a snapping turtle, making it’s way back to the stream just over the stones at the top of the hill.
While walking back from doing a second lap around the campground and getting a fresh coffee for my friend to wake up to my mind wandered in and out of the specifics of what it would mean if I got another job and the fact that I wanted to move so badly. Sure enough, I found a heart-shaped leaf in my midst close to our campsite.
I ended up getting another job and I also made a move around the same time so the real story here is that everything happened exactly as it should. If I’d spent more time worrying about that, than I did buried in books, helping others and writing I might have missed the opportunities to grow along the way. Positive energy creates and if I bought into the negative feelings more than the good ones, I don’t know that I would’ve created the same great experiences I had that summer.
I could only trust then, that I had everything I needed and the more I affirmed it, the more it stood true. I held onto that wisdom passed onto me a few months earlier because I really didn’t need to know how the next few months would unfold. All I needed to know was that what I had in me was enough, take my little miracles (perspective shifts) with me and greet whatever rose to meet me the next day and then the day after that.
The hearts always lead the way back to peace.