Are you the kind who has a list of parks you want to visit … and check each one off as an accomplishment?
Are you the kind of camper who visits a park and stays close to the camper to play with cooking tools and seeing campground sights?
Are you the kind of Camper who uses the camper as a hotel and stays at wineries and harvest hosts?
Are you the kind of person who camps just so your pets can travel with you?
Are you the kind of Camper who is searching out new human connection?
Or are you the kind of camper who uses camping to create mini vacations of local color and learning?
I suppose I am a little of each but more the kind of camper that thinks of something I’ve read about,or heard about, that is far off the beaten path. It’s usually something on the back burner that hasn’t been close enough or far enough or along the way to the other thing that beckons me more.
At the point when that back burner thing becomes the call, I start looking within a hundred miles of it to see what serendipity might come into play.
My birthday is on the horizon and since it marks another new decade, I’m pulling out the maps and trying to get a plan going. Oh, so much wants to get in the way. First, my Husband is working through a death in the family. He is up in WI at a family reunion right now. It was supposed to be a birthday celebration for his Mom. She was an avid swimmer and charity devotee. She had just visited Walgreens to get “up to date” for her guests. It was shocking when she didn’t meet up with a lunch date and a search party went off to find her… slid off the road with no damage to her car… and slumped over the wheel. Life flighted (33 Grand), she pretty much went straight to hospice. Doctors weren’t really clear on what happened. She had been very active and in full vigor. It was very shocking. As always with a death, came all that entails dealing with the minutia of sorting the remnants of a life and finding the right place for my Father in law. My husband comes from people with incredible longevity (usually) his grandparents all lived independently into their centennial years… so he is finding this first major grief difficult.
Add to it, he threw out his back just before leaving. And then add that we are in a drought and we have to keep watering our new (last year) septic field that sunk and had to be re-topped and seeded with five dump truck loads of dirt this Spring (and the large swaths of yard damage done by the moving of the dirt with the Bobcat).
For those that don’t know, modern fields require grass to be growing on them to work properly. Slave to the grass field right now, that’s me. That and we haven’t had time to put drip irrigation on our vegetable plots.
Alas, my birthday plan is small beans compared to all that wants to derail this camping trip. Yes, I could go with the dog on my own but I want to be around to help out The Hub when he returns and walks through his grief.
I do have ideas though.
Being an Indian Mound aficionado, we went to see the sets of Rock Eagle Mounds in Georgia along with the Mounds in Helen up in the Mountains last Christmas. Of course, we did the obligatory stop at The Georgia Guidestones. Apparently, not a trip too soon now that they are gone. I suppose it’s just another reminder of Carpe Diem. See things while you are able.
So, my belated birthday trip wants to center around the Man Mound in WI. It’s a fascinating huge effigy cut into sections by a poorly laid road at some point. There are actually a lot mounds in Wisconsin though they don’t get much recognition. Man Mound is probably the coolest effigy. It’s not so far from Effigy Mounds in Iowa which we’ve visited a couple times and enjoyed some amazing experiences.
There is a small Scandinavian arts museum in an Iowa town, just east of Man Mound. The decorative arts of Scandinavia also make my heart sing…so that is on the docket. Next on the plan will be a couple NE historic MO sites I’ve wanted to visit but were too small and far off the beaten path for a one up trip. And then, we’ll have to be back for the septic grass… if the drought has persisted at that point.
So, I suppose this post is about Carpe Diem as much as it is finding a campground…though they really might be the same thing in a way. It’s about honoring the things that bring us joy: camping in the way that is unique and most suits the memories we wish to create.
I always ask myself how each trip might be a gift to myself and my husband. How might it enrich us? How might it sustain us in conversation and memory if travel is restricted again? I do my best to pack in explorations and meditations…always hoping to glean why the Ancients left the giant effigies in America and all over the globe. Camping allows one the time to sit still, clear the mind and let the imagination come up with pictures of yet unimagined histories.
Yes, life is a mystery. You see it most when others depart. Perhaps it’s the effigy builders who left without explanation or it’s someone closer to home. It’s a mystery and yet it’s a beautiful circle. There is so much we don’t know when we stay in our minds but our hearts, given quiet time outdoors, often lead us to signs, intuitions, and clues.
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