I haven’t camped in years, so when I came to a prompt about camping equipment my mind went blank. Truth be told, while I thought camping was cool as a kid, as an adult I really can’t stand to go that long without a proper bath. Even a long camping weekend felt like coming in out of the wild and all I wanted was a shower and food that didn’t taste like smoke. But when I was little, any type of camping was fun. Once we were hit with an ice storm that knocked out power to much of the city for an entire week. Schools were cancelled, which was awesome, and I got to stay home all week. With no electricity, my only light in the evening was from a kerosene lantern. It was one of the coolest, most memorable weeks of my life, with nothing to do except write stories by lantern light, next to a crackling fireplace.
I mentioned this particular incident in a post last year, as it’s one of my favorite travel memories. Granted, I never left the house, but the house itself was transformed into a different time period which was almost better. I spent most of that week in the rec room as the roads were too treacherous to even walk outdoors. We were technically “trapped in our own home,” which is a phrase I think I heard my mother use, but I didn’t feel like it was such a bad thing. I felt transported. It was like time had stopped, with no rules and no school work to get in the way of doing whatever I loved most. At the time, it was writing stories, so that’s what I did. With my little camping lantern, I would lose all sense of time and stay up writing story after story until the oil burned out.
Today, I often dream of that time and it’s almost made me wish for another ice storm. Though as an adult, I now understand how my mother must have felt. A time like that, so completely free of distractions, never really came again. But, whenever I feel overwhelmed or too busy to do what I love, I go back to that time in my head. Even if it’s only 30 minutes to an hour, and not an entire week, I try to let things slip away and fall into that zone. Far away from everything I must do, and simply focusing on that which I want to do. Each little bit of time I take to paint every day, is still for me, like camping through an ice storm. I’m right where I need to be in that moment. Lost in doing something that’s dear to me and thoroughly enjoying being trapped in my own “home.”
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Azo Orange, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.