Nature calls. No, not the way you’re thinking.
Let me rephrase.
I’ve heard the call of the great outdoors, the mountains, ponderosa pines and dirt trails for a couple of months now. It’s been a long while since I’ve been out among the wild things.
I’m anticipating some nature time here soon. Just thinking about it relaxes the muscles in my back and brings a smile to my face. Ahhhh….
Did you know the bark on a Ponderosa pine tree has a vanilla scent to it? You have to get up close and personal to really pick it up, but it’s there. And the needles and pine pitch? Mmmmmm, there’s a smell to enliven the soul and rejuvenate the senses.
Getting away from the light pollution of the city, up into the mountains, allows a view of the night sky that’s always there, but not always visible. A spectacle of magic and mystery, uncountable stars emblazon the night sky like so many scattered gems on a black velvet cloth. That alone gives pause for some seriously deep contemplation and introspection.
Hiking slows the pace of the world down to manageable proportions. There’s time for savoring details like a scattering of quarter-inch flowers, or the sound of a small stream making its way downhill, or the varieties of green.
Birds accompany every activity up there, especially morning goings on. Mornings and birds are inseparable and a perfect combination, like hot chocolate and whipped cream. Every pip, cheep, chitter, whistle, peep, and song adds to the delights of the day.
Cooler air. Ah, yes. Getting off the desert floor up into higher country provides a welcome and much-needed respite from the flirting with 100’s temps we’ve had here. Just the mere sound of wind making its way through the pine boughs brings relief. When the actual breeze brushes past carrying snatches of songs from all the trees I feel renewed, baptised and reborn.
I think I sound lovestruck. Infatuated. Irrational.
The reality is:
- I don’t sleep well while camping. I’m jittery and nervous of the great outdoor’s night noises.
- At the first hint of daylight I’m outta the tent and building a huge fire and heating a pot of water.
- Some of the other campers will be noisy, annoying, silly and clueless.
- There’s probably some fire restrictions if not an outright ban.
- Mosquitos and I don’t get along well and will be battling it out every evening.
- After a few days of bliss I’ll be happy to return to the valley of heat, dust, flush toilets and long hot showers, pillows, beds and internet connections.
- I’ll wax nostalgic about the mountains and nature until the next time I get to escape.
The other reality is:
- I’ll love it while I’m there, itchy bites, dirty hair, sleepless nights and all.
- The hills are alive with the sound of music and bugs and crazed campers and beauty.
- There’s no separating the good from the bad.
So while I’m packing up the flashlight, camp chair, bug repellant and sleeping bag, I’ll also bring along a pen and notebook, a camera, my hiking boots and my decent attitude.
I’ll leave my iPod and earbuds at home though. I don’t want to miss nature’s playlist.