I spent last weekend camping in Linn Run State Park. The timing was less than stellar: we just missed peak foliage, and we drove in late Friday evening under a blanket of chilly rain that turned into the season’s first snow overnight.
But the cabins were heated and cozy, and the cold wasn’t that cold once I was out and walking in it. The next morning, the four of us–myself, my husband, and our friends Bill and Lauren–walked up the Beam Rocks trail through a pristine inch-thick layer of snow on top of fallen leaves. And we had a nice view of the woods under a mostly blue sky, and a distant smudge of gray where a snowstorm was drifting past. It was time well spent, unplugged from the world and focusing on good company and long conversations.
You can probably guess where this story goes. That unplugging for a weekend somehow changed my life, that severing myself from the constant flood of the internet left me open to blessings by the muse. And maybe it would, if I gave it more time than a day and a half. I’ve written before about the value of cultivating mental green space, of giving one’s thoughts space to play, about changing up the scenery in order to nurture a sense of wonder.
But I didn’t write a single word while I was away. I chatted with my friends, I walked in the woods with them, we played board games, cooked, did a little shopping in the local town of Ligonier 20 minutes away. We just took our moments as they came. When I woke up two hours before my husband on the chilly, frosted-over Saturday morning, I climbed up to the upper bunk, threw a blanket over my lap, and played games on my Nintendo 3DS with the volume turned off while I waited for the sun to grace us with its presence. The whole weekend was cozy and pleasant and I had a great time.
And I came home with lovely memories I’m going to toss into the stewpot in my head. And maybe some time in the future, the crunch of frosted leaves and the musical rush of the creek and the feeling of waking up in a dark cabin on a chilly morning will make its way into a story. And that’s fine. Not every weekend spent camping is going to come with a revelation. Maybe all I learned about myself in the woods is that I had a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again. And that’s enough.