Unplugged to recharge

10 Mar

We just got home from our annual spring camping trip to the Florida panhandle.  It’s been five days of being unplugged from technology, primitive camping where even my cell phone is iffy at best about getting a signal.

Cooking on a tiny campstove, sitting around the campfire, listening to the sound of the trees at night as the wind roars through them, hearing the strange (to me) sounds of coyotes in Florida  (they don’t sound like Western coyotes, its a bit more “dog” like in sound, but still has that characteristic yip yip yiiiiip sort of sound.)  Sleeping in a tent that I could have sworn we’d waterproofed the rain fly in early December…we got drenched in a storm the first night.  I came flying out of bed and was frantically digging in the van for some sort of remedy.  My remedy turned out to be dragging the rainfly from our big tent to be stretched over the smaller tent and staked down, covering most of our leaking spots.  (The entire rain fly was about as protective as a sheet of cheese cloth!)

We did have some clear weather on Saturday, and got a short bike ride in along the forest roads and the main black top through the area.  It was nice.  We also spotted a really HUGE fish, which I was informed was a bass, as well as that it was trophy sized.  None of us were fishing or even had fishing gear along, so that was merely an interesting side note.  About all any of us have done in the creek is swim and play, so anything larger than a minnow is a real novelty.

Sunday found the rest of our crew heading home, leaving GM & I for some solitude for a couple of days.  It was nice, just the two of us with our dogs, and we never pulled the computer out once.  I read a book on Monday, we took a nice long walk, and we had a good time with the dogs in the smaller creek near our camp too.  GM hates cold water though, and that always provides me with ample entertainment at his gasps and exclamations of agony at the icy water, which was running a bit higher than normal due to the heavy rain on Friday and Saturday nights.

I made steamed pudding on Saturday night, and despite the fact that I know the recipe by heart…I forgot to add the sugar!  GM & I still liked it, finding it still quite sweet with the fruit in it, and I whipped a caramel sauce with some heated sweetened condensed milk.  I think the other campers were a bit suspicious though, especially after the raccoon filled tamales.

And here this was supposed to be a group of survivalist sorts!

Still, after being left with excessive quantities of meat, I have come home craving vegetables and a tuna fish sandwich.  The joys of living out of a cooler and restricted by the finite nature of ice in it.

There is something really and truly soothing to the soul when you are lulled to sleep by the sound of the wind and a naturally flowing creek nearby, even when it is punctuated by the sounds of coyotes, a donkey (yee-haw, right?), hunting dogs in the distance, a million or so different frogs, night time bird calls, and the sound of crickets.  The smell of burning wood and the sight of the flickering flames answers some primal call of our ancestors as we sit near it and warm chilled limbs as we talk of things past and present, the truth and fiction.  Even the cooperative preparation and consumption of meals is something that soothes our savage natures.  How can one be sour and angry when sitting near the fire and eating your dinner with your companions as the coyotes cries in the distance echo among the trees?

How can you not consider this planet important as you stand with your feet in the icy waters as you wade to the other side, thankful that you didn’t fall on the slippery clay bank and watch the minnows dart away from your clumsy splashing feet?

How can you not feel sad as you come across someone’s former campsite, littered with debris and the sad stumps of the young trees they chopped down only to leave laying like the other debris?

And the aroma of perking coffee accented by a whiff of pine smoke as you wake is as comforting as the feel of the dry blanket covering you, and you quickly dress in your cold clothes for the day, anxious for a cup of that coffee that some early riser has graciously prepared….

Spring has arrived on the Gulf Coast, and the sight of the fading blooms on the wild blueberry bushes reminds you of that fact, even as the rain and thunderstorms rage through the region, dropping heavy rain and even some hail as a reminder of the power of a storm.

I better be ready to face the coming year, hadn’t I?


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