I dream of camping

Home for around two weeks and
I already dream of camping.

Recently, I was seated at the computer
in my white gown

at 6:50 in the morn
when I opened my email.

My sweet friend, Cindy, asked me to take a group of carpooling children to school. We needed to leave by 7:00 … *gulp* a.m…. within ten minutes.
I immediately called Cindy. Had I gone to bed with the birds last night, as is my usual schedule, I might have checked my email and had a little warning. Alas, this was the first I had seen of this email …
And my mind raced to the van chair that had been in the corner of the hall for two weeks
and the other chair that had been sitting in the living room long enough that Brier thought it part of the natural furniture and she had taken to sleeping there. The bench seat remained in front of the fireplace where it had been …. almost all summer.

Why the dismantling of the innards of the van? When we camp, we take out all the seats so we have plenty of space for luggage, boats, bikes & tents. And we have just left it “dismantled” so that we could quickly and easily pack for the next adventure that might pop up.

No. I couldn’t possibly get dressed and put all three seats into the van (the largest, a bench seat, I can’t even move across the room unassisted much less lift into the van), transfer my liquid energy into a ceramic portable cup and pick up three families worth of children in ten minutes.

Cindy took the kids and I had my work cut out for me; clean the van.

I finished my coffee, took off on my run, made a few phone calls and settled into the task of cleaning up after summer.

As I drove from St. Andrews State Park, Florida to my parents home in Bainbridge, Georgia in the middle of our voyage, I sent this via my iPhone for my Facebook status:

The inside of my van smells like warm sand, salty bathing suits, damp tent, fresh seaweed,
and steamy goggles & snorkel. St. Andrews Bay was fabulous.

The first find when I began was a surprise: crustacean skin.

Sweet memories flooded back … of showers and shared shrimp.
On our trip to St. Andrews State Park, Tuesday night was my night to cook dinner (when we camp, Stone cooks some meals, I cook others). With a storm looming, I tried to get an early start on dinner. Stone and RD ran off to shower while I layered onion, zucchini, bell pepper and bacon into grill grate. Marinated steak was already cooking with fresh shrimp ready to go shortly behind ….
when Joy and I heard the rumble coming across the trees. Rain in sheets moved right over us. I quickly crafted a rain stop for the grill so dinner could finish cooking. We watched the sun set behind palms and pines to the west while rain poured from directly above. By the time the boys got back, I was drenched and dripping  yet thankful that dinner was almost ready.

We ended up eating dinner IN the van.
Thus, shrimp peels were accidentally left behind.

Crisp, brittle oak leaves … dry from the summer heat … were here and there.
Pine straw had been tracked in.
Sand and more sand … e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

The dash was filthy. The passenger side windshield marred and smudged on the inside with foot prints
as large as mine
but presented by an eleven year old
who lived with her feet propped for several days.

Soon, the vacuuming and window washing would be complete.
Shortly, windows would be print free.
And, in time, these rails would no longer offer the crunch of grainy sand
but securely hold five seats with belts into place
that we can run bodies back and forth to a bus stop or school.

It took several hours, but summer sweat, sand and smells
were cleaned, vacuumed and wiped away.
It’s bittersweet … to have things clean again …
and to dream of what is to come.
A trip to Hunting Island? Or a hiking excursion to the mountains?
Yes.
I dream.

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