Those Nostalgic Hard Times
Last year we went on an epic family vacation. At least it was epic to us, seeing as we don't get out much. We hit up the Rocky Mountains and spent a glorious week and a half camping.
I love the mountains. I frequently dream about the mountains. When I'm not at the mountains I want to be at the mountains. But I also could never live at the mountains. It sounds like some tragic Shakespearean love story. However, you may as well bury me in an abandoned mine a mile below ground if I were to live by the mountains, cause that's how my head would feel without an open prairie sky to look at. Nevertheless, the mountains are the best place to visit. They called us over last year, and we gladly obliged.
It was hard. Very hard. Borderline too hard. At the time our four children were ages 1-9. The daily temperature hit well above 30 degrees C (which is a nightmare for Saskatchewanians). There were long drives, troubles with food (never expect me to remember to pack frozen meat at 4:30am), and hazy smoke from forest fires making any physical exertion difficult. But most of all, it was the daily camping living that was hard. Why must kids expect to eat three (or seven?) times a day? And have a place to sleep? And want to move around constantly? And shout? And touch everything. And need to use a bathroom every fifteen minutes? And why must my wife insist they get sort of cleaned up every night? With teeth brushed?
In other words, to be a parent on a camping trip is to always be on the move. It is to never have more than a few minutes of relaxation. We would shake our heads at some of our camping neighbours. They would have a perfect campfire going, large comfy chairs (more like couches), a perfect beverage, a soothing book... And we? It was an unending struggle to make a kid or two semi-clean before launching them into a sleeping bag for the night.
Yet we have nothing but fond memories of our camping trip in the mountains. All the hardships sort of disappear as time passes, and all we remember are such blessings as scaling to the top of mountains, swimming in lakes, and eating ice cream (we exceeded our ice cream budget by roughly 437%.). Why is this? Why do our brains habitually take what is good and move on?
Lately we've taken to watching camping videos. Not of us. Of others. Guys go into the woods for a few days and, well, videotape themselves camping. I know, it's ridiculous. They go through so much work, while we (like our camping neighbours in the mountains) sit on the couch, with a perfect beverage, and calmly watch them endure pain and misery. Maybe it's just sweet payback.
There's one guy in particular who is interesting (in a weird way). He works like mad to set up camp. Then he cooks a ridiculously awesome meal over an old stove or a fire. And once all this work has been completed he sits back... takes a bite... and...
Check it out here (skip to 24:30):