The cool breeze skimmed over the dark water, tracing the ripples all the way to the rocky shore where it broke into pieces and scattered into the forest just over the pine-needle laden floor. The tree branches above danced as the wind wound its way upward in a tango toward the star speckled sky.
She sighed deeply, closed her eyes, and inhaled. The frogs and crickets chirped and sang, echoing back and forth across the dark liquid expanse. The fire flickered behind her. This peace, this quiet, this was exactly what she needed.
The night, especially the night in the middle of nowhere, hugged her closer than any other creature on the planet. It leaped into her heart and squeezed her from the inside out. This, this simplistic, primal, natural gorgeous place was where her soul was formed. She ran her hands through the pine-needle covered dirt beside her and let the dirt sift through her fingers.
Hugging her brown cable sweater a little closer, she shivered in the dark. Time to go sit next to the fire, she thought. Lingering just a little longer, she stared into the sky, briefly identifying a few constellations here and there. She’d been away too long and could only identify a basic few – Orion, the Big Dipper, and The Little Dipper. In a galaxy far far away, a long time ago, she could identify several more but that knowledge had been left behind in the distant past, buried. She sighed, slowly stood, and walked carefully back to the fire pit.
The flames danced rhythmically with the gentle breeze, sparks flying here and there. The crackles and pops served as the percussion as the frogs and crickets sang along in a falsetto. Oh, how she had truly missed camping.
When she was a child, her parents went camping quite a bit. Her favourite place to camp as a kid was at the beach. There was nothing like sitting next to a campfire with the roar of the ocean behind you and the cool sand behind your toes. It’s quite something to realize the sand isn’t always wont to burn the bottom of your feet off. And s’mores on the beach – oh my goodness. That’s a whole ‘nother level of heaven right there.
But this – the mustiness of the trees, the soothing constant lap of the lake as it played endlessly with the breeze which frolicked just above it, the echoing of the various creature calls – this, this was camping – this was heaven. Solace. Solitude. Peace.
She sat there, book in hand, reading, until the flames flickered one last time as they sank deep into the dirt to sleep for the night and await rekindling in the morning. Unzipping her tent, she climbed in, took off her boots, and climbed into the sleeping bag. As she drifted off to sleep, the lake whispered a lullaby as the breeze intensified, helping the trees cradle the night just above her.
Everyone has a happy place in their head, a place to which they escape when things get tough. If you don’t, you should. I’ve just described mine to you. Tell me about yours. Where is your happy place? What does it look like? How does it make you feel?