Friday, July 16, 2010

To be Daring and True

Last weekend I did something I never expected to do. I went camping. The Kia Jeep — a decent size vehicle — was jam-packed with all the necessary supplies. A 14 x 14 ft tent. The 10 x 10 ft gazebo. The cooler filled with food. Two large storage containers filled with kitchen supplies and other tools. The inflatable queen-size bed and bedding. Clothes. The Coleman stove. When it was all loaded, we squeezed into the front seats and headed to nearby Milby (Québec).

We arrived at Camping du Pont Couvert (Covered Bridge Campground) just before 1:00 pm, and once registered, headed to our site and set up our tents. It was hot. The flies were everywhere. I wasn’t sure camping was for me, but there I was, willing to give it a go.

With our tent and moustiquaire set up, we went to our friends site (they’re there for the season) and collected some wood. I took up the challenge to start the fire and, low and behold, on the first attempt, there was fire (although I did manage to burn the hairs on my arm … my only wound from this camping trip).

The campground is located a mere fifteen minutes from Sherbrooke, yet it felt like I was a million miles away from civilization. We were set up next to the river and went to sleep at night to the sound of water rushing over the rocks. In the morning I was sitting at a picnic table by six o’clock writing as I sipped on my morning coffee. The sound of the river. Birds singing. The peacefulness of the early morning. I was easily swept up in my writing, in my imagination. Later in the day, after a quick dip into the pool to cool off, I was back in one of our mesh armchairs — taking refuge under a leafy oak tree — reading John Bayley’s Elergy for Iris.

When I let myself be daring, venture out into unknown territory, I discovered something new: camping. Perhaps our setup was a bit “luxurious” but I enjoyed my experience. And I am eager to go again.

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