Camp counselor

7 Mar

Getting back to basics

Warmer weather is the cue for area nature-enthusiasts to dust off their tents, check their matches and start blending their own g.o.r.p.  It’s down to just a matter of about three weeks before we start seeing small SUVs clad with those coexist bumper stickers and dream catchers straining under the weight of all manner of outdoor gear.

Peking Man family bonding during a camping weekend

What would Peking Man think of us if he were transported to present times in a Bill and Ted’s excellent time machine?  I suspect that if he were capable of thoughts beyond grunting for “good” and scratching for “itchy”, he would be completely jaw-dropped that there is a large segment of society who eat raw food on purpose and sleep outside for shits and giggles.  Evolution is mocked when we forego indoor plumbing, TempurPedic mattresses and climate control in the name of leisure.  Oh, I get the notion of enjoying the great outdoors and bonding with the night sky, but I value waking up well-rested and not covered in skeeter bites, too.  Personally, I take my role at the tip-top of evolution and the food chain very seriously.  I eat meat, wear fur, use evil Western medicine and crank up my ac in the summer.  I do it because I can.  I do it because it is right…and it would be rude to be so dismissive of the advances made by those who came before us.  Never forget your manners.

Recreating the barefoot experience

Who are we kidding about getting back to nature and simplifying?  Real “camping” would be sleeping curled up in some scrub brush, hoping it doesn’t rain then foraging for green stems and woodland insects for a midnight snack.  It wouldn’t be a $300 tent from REI, inflatable camp mattress, insulated mummy sleeping bag, Coleman camp stove and a pair of Five Fingers.  Spending the weekend au natural is expensive as hell, and there’s nothing natural about that.

Urban tent city

I have camped, though I wouldn’t call myself “outdoorsy”, so I feel qualified in my opinion about this matter.  We have a big backyard, which does so count, and have hosted Girl Scout troops and families from Church to come play hippie and mitigate any “privilege guilt”.  It’s fun, we have music, running water and burn cords of wood bought at the hardware store in our copper Smith and Hawken fire pit.  But we definitely sleep and eat outside, just like in olden times.  That’s roughing it, right?


One Response to “Camp counselor”

  1. Tracy March 7, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Oh ya it is roughing it! The big tent in “tent city” is no longer after that night. The rains and floods won that night.

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