After a two hour drive to the mountains and setting up camp, I always take a walk around checking out my neighbor’s tents and trailers, finding the trailhead for one of the many hikes I’ll be taking, and of course, locating the restroom. One of Kim’s requirements of camping is that we always get a spot on the outside loop, where all that’s behind us is the forest. She loves it for the quietness and beauty; I love it for being able to pee privately in the middle of the night.
The kids were playing a game so Kim and I headed off behind our tent for a walk in the forest. As soon as we came upon the first pine tree, we were tearing needles off the branches, breaking them in half and inhaling the aroma of fresh pine. Kim used her needles as a perfume sampler, rubbing the scent onto her wrists and neck. Her eyes closed, swaying a little, making ooh and awe sounds like she was getting ready for a date. She swears she’s going to find a way to bottle that scent. I just journeyed ahead gathering pinecones for our table centerpiece. Really, though, there is nothing better than walking in the forest amongst all the smells of wilderness.
“What the hell is that?” I asked her, as a dog started barking and the sounds of a truck moving broke our silence. Startled, we ventured towards the noise and came upon a fence. We could hike miles, dragging our complaining children, and never come to the end of the forest. But there, on the other side of the fence wasn’t a mountain lake, or a beautiful cabin in the woods, or a meadow full of deer. In its entire suburb glory was a neighborhood with driveways, sidewalks and a trash truck picking up the weekly garbage. Like a balloon deflating, we turned and headed back to the campsite. But as we told the story to the kids, we were busting up laughing.