One of life’s great pleasures is waking up in the morning at a campground. I grew up living mostly in the suburbs where there were few sounds of nature outside other than the yapping of a neighbor’s dog. The times I went camping, it was like being transported to a different planet. Most of the time you were up early enough to feel the morning dew on your skin, the day not yet old enough to burn it off even in the depth of summer. The sounds of birds singing their sweet songs in the trees joined the scampering of small feet rustling through leaves or pine needles by nut-gatherers below. Whether you were tent camping, in a truck conversion, or in any one of the various forms of campers – you made your way outside during those wee hours to greet the day, the morning air full of the smells of bacon and pancakes cooking on a Coleman stove somewhere nearby. If you were my neighbor, you’d likely have heard me tripping over the root of a tree or some other obstacle. I still have a scar across the top of my ankle from a particularly bad run in with a tent stake at Myrtle Beach as a teenager.
Letting go means that whatever stays is meant to be and it resides in peace with no coercion.
Disconnecting from the weight of every day life draws multitudes of people to various forms of camping every year. Just the change of scenery alone can do wonders for a person. The campground we stayed in was not in an unfamiliar area, but I had changed my perspective to the other side of the river. I am looking forward to many opportunities to have ever-changing views of both the world around me and the ever evolving person inside me. This non-static approach to the world helps me know myself better, and in knowing myself better, I am a better citizen of the world, wife, mother, friend. Trust me, this hot mess needs a lot of fine tuning.
In the last few years, I have undergone a personal transformation. It seems people pleasing is in the rearview mirror. It’s close enough that I can still find the reverse gear and revisit it, but not so close that it is my constant traveling companion. It has distanced me from people who have been friends for twenty or more years. The funny thing about people pleasing is that when you stop making every decision in your life based on the needs, wants, and preferences of others – you often find you are no longer useful. I think there is still value, even if it’s occasionally lonely to finding your most authentic life. Gary has not only watched but nurtured this transformation. If I start looking to shift into reverse, he reminds me that I want to go forward and that where I go, he will go.
The biggest change these last few years have brought me is the ability to let go. Letting go is different than running away. Letting go means that I have made the choice not to force relationships where they do not thrive organically. Letting go means a growing awareness of my authentic self in place of what used to feel false or stilted, and making only the fewest compromises in this area. Letting go means that whatever stays is meant to be and it resides in peace with no coercion. This is preparation for more of a nomadic lifestyle, which seems is always about letting go.
Letting go of one thing means there is time, energy, and resources to invest in something new. Mornings in a camp setting will always be a picture of a fresh start, the remnants of old things in ashes where last night’s campfire burned bright.