It's been 10 years since I was last camping.
It was my sophomore year of college and Nate and I made a trip from the small town my college was in up to a local tourist area with lakes. We camped for a weekend along the larger of the lakes and had a wonderful time.
Flash forward 10 years and we're married and actually living in the area where we camped that weekend that seems like forever ago. But I haven't been camping since.
I had to work this weekend, so I took Thursday off to even up my hours and we decided to spend the night at our land for the first time. After I got off work on Wednesday, Nate had everything packed up and I giggled at how much stuff we brought to camp about a mile away from where we currently live. But it made the event more comfortable, so I'm all for that amount of stuff.
We arrived and went to work for a little while. Our mower broke, so I was in charge of weed-eating the driveway while Nate worked on chainsawing some dead limbs off of a gorgeous walnut tree that we could use for the fire that evening.
Sweaty and covered in grass about an hour later, we put up the tent, popped in the air mattress we blew up with the help of the outlet in our SUV --- thank you technology --- and started a fire.
Nate found a couple of old metal fenceposts that were in the broken down building on the acreage and put them over the burning coals with a powder-coated grill grate for a make-shift grill for the brats that he bought for dinner.
The rest of the evening, we just relaxed and soaked in the calm around us. Birds chirped. Dragonflies perched in the mulberry tree overhead and darted out every now and then to grab a mosquito, and we cheered them on. Monarch butterflies fluttered around. Novie mosied around dejected that she had to be outside instead of on a soft couch or bed.
As dusk approached, lightning bugs started to twinkle their little behinds. More and more appeared the darker it got. Soon, the nearby corn field was inundated with twinkle lights.
We had watched a documentary on Netflix a few nights before that which had a segment about glowing beetle larvae, and we were amazed at the brightness these beetles had. How cool would that be to see? we thought.
But as I looked at these lightning bugs blanketing the world around us, I thought How cool is this?
It was another one of those calm times in life when I look at the man next to me, the dog beside me and the simple world around me and I say a quiet prayer, Thank you Lord. Help me to remember this. Help me to store this treasure up in my heart.
We fell asleep in our tent, knowing that we'll remember that first time that we spent on our land. We have dreams that someday we'll sit on our porch with our kids and say, "Remember when we first camped on our land? Look at where we are now. That seems like so long ago."
But we'll remember the coyotes howling and yipping at us at 3 a.m., the sun rising so early that when we woke up at 7:30 it seemed like 10 o'clock, the eggs and toast and leftover brat we had for breakfast, the joy at finding all those thorn bushes we were annoyed with were actually raspberry bushes.
We'll remember, because those moments are stored up in my heart.