Turning it Off, and I Don't Just Mean the Devices

Waking up beside the Mississippi River, I write in my notebook while listening to the bird songs. The unfamiliar tunes of birds not regularly singing in our little patch of the world delights me. As I look down at Leo beside me in our shared sleeping bag, he grins at the sound too. He happily wiggles "Good morning" inside his lumberjack plaid sleep sack. His big sister Hallie and Daddy still sleeping on either side of us.


I unzip the tent window just slightly to spot a baby deer staring at me curiously. Lucy, the golden bundle of energy we call our family dog is pouting beside her human sister because she wanted to play outside with her frisbee longer instead of coming back in our tent to cuddle.


It was a spontaneous trip. We'd been talking about going camping, but when Adam realized it was the holiday weekend coming up and he felt he could leave his shop in good hands, it was time to go! He suggested just picking up our daughter from preschool and heading out on our adventures. So here we are about 25 minutes outside Galena, Illinois, waking up to the river and a new chorus of bird songs.


There is something about waking up outdoors that inspires self-reflection. It reminds you to slow down and ponder.


The peace and stillness.


The eb and flow of nature's pace, which is much like the passage of time.


Time is a fascinating construct after all, isn't it? A single moment in time can feel as thought it lasts an eternity, burned into your memory for life. And yet, years can fly by in an instant. Suddenly your baby is four and a half and you've been with that boyfriend you were on fire with for more than a decade.


Except now that passion-filled, head-over-heels kind of love has settled in and become another life altogether. One with babies we're raising together, and the responsibilities of life coming in fast at every turn. One with silly arguments and learning how to navigate one another with greater ease. One with parallel self discovery and blending of the way we do things. One where we challenge one anothers growth instead of enabling one another's habits.


Camping allows us to turn it off. Yes, the phones and TVs and computers... but more importantly, our overactive minds. We're able to slow our train of thought down to simply existing as we make food and sleep upon the medicinal energy of Mother Earth.