Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The summer solstice is here.  Today in our beautiful north country the sun will barely sleep. Today is the day we long for on those blizzarding January days.  The first day of summer.  The longest day of the year. 

We spent Father's Day and the first day of summer in one of the best ways possible....camping.   Camping with family in our town's own back yard.  Literally,  a three song drive from our house is an amazingly beautiful campground carved out of Canada's Boreal Forest.  Each campsite is surrounded by birch and evergreen trees and bordered by steep rock cuts perfect for little girls to climb and explore and get dirty with their cousin who is here visiting for the first day of summer.

I have many happy camping memories from my own childhood... burning sticks in the campfire, trying to toast the perfect marshmallow, washing dirty feet in a basin before crawling into the sleeping bag and feeling it's cold zipper against your skin.  On the top bunk in our camper there was a tiny sliding window that my brother and I would open so that we could here the snapping and crackling of the campfire and the laughter and conversation from our parents and our aunties and our uncles as we drifted off to sleep.

And now my girls are making their own memories.  Memories of the great trek to the top of the scenic tower to take in the breathless view of green and blue from lakes and trees and sky.  This great trek to the top of the world as Callie puts it.  Memories of walks along the beach, tossing rocks into the water.  Memories of roasting hot dogs and building sweet and sticky s'mores.  Memories of staying up late and getting up early to go fishing.

Memories of a family spending time together, talking, laughing, sharing...getting to know each other again and again.

Some people struggle with understanding the concept of camping.  For some can't see past the dirt, the bugs, and the effort it takes to move your life into the wilderness for a few days.  

But, for those who get it, you know what I mean when I speak of the inner peace you feel when you have your morning coffee outside with the birds and the squirrels.  You know that a hot dog has never tasted better than when you've cooked it yourself over the campfire and you eat it at a picnic table covered with a plastic table cloth held down with little metal clips.  You know there is something greater than you when you look up at the night sky and search out the big dipper amongst the dotted pattern of the stars.

All of our camping memories are possible because of my parents.  They have taught us that the effort is worth it, repaying you tenfold for what you put in when your girl begs pleeeease can we stay one more night.  They let us tag along on their camping journeys...showing how it's done until we grow our own camping roots.

Summer has arrived.

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