"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but the opposition you have encountered and the courage
with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

Orison Swett Marden

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth of July Weekend

July 7, 2010

Well, we all survived July 4th for the year. We spent our weekend camping. No surprise, I’m sure. We went to Itasca State Park, home of the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Humidity was pretty much the word for the weekend. I just can’t deal with heat and humidity very well so I was happy to be able to escape to the trailer and air conditioned air. No, I am not spoiled, remember. I’ve paid my dues to have that A/C so I won’t feel guilty about it! Except for a very long-lasting thunderstorm Friday night to Saturday morning, at least it was decent weather aside of the H&H. After setting up, we were warm so we headed down to the headwaters. We always have to stop at the gift shop, no matter how often we go there. I got an unbelievably soft t-shirt—one that just makes you melt right into it. At the headwaters, we were all able to get in the water, including Willy, and cool off. Still dealing with foot pain, all the walking I did over the weekend was tough so I’ve been trying to stay off it the last couple of days. Can’t tomorrow though…gotta clean house.

Sunday night we went into Park Rapids for their fireworks display. It was phenomenal! We sat in a vacant lot with many others, right next to the river, where they seemed to have been shooting them off from. Some of the fireworks were so big and so close, it seemed like I could reach out and touch them. I actually had to slump down in my chair and rest my head against the back to see everything! They constantly had 3, 4, 5 or more rockets going off at a time. My regret: I didn't bring the camera. I could have had some awesome pictures for you. Oh well.

Going back to Friday...

Friday night I sat in my rocking chair under my awning…just sitting there and looking at what was going on around me. Mindfulness. Concentrating on just what was happening at the time, just what I was feeling at the time. I was amazed how contented I felt. Contentment is a feeling that is rather allusive to me. The trait can be found on my list of “characteristics of my ideal self.” It prompted me to pull out my journal.


From journal: Friday, July 2, 2010

Coming to you from Itasca State Park for a three-day weekend. It must be about 9 or 9:30. It’s a little humid but nice out tonight. I’ve been sitting here under my awning, rocking in my rocking chair, eating sunflower seeds to keep my hands busy and thinking how lucky I am. This is not a feeling that overtakes me very often. Usually I am dwelling on all of the bad things in my life and stand in puddles and puddles of negative emotions and distorted thinking. But right now, I sit here in all my “me-ness,” and I still feel lucky. I feel good. It’s like this is my kingdom. We may not have the longest or newest trailer in the park, but it provides us with everything we need and a lot more. We have the biggest awning made and I have nice outdoor carpeting under it so I can go barefoot and not get my feet full of sand and dirt. I love to go barefoot…especially when I can only wear one pair of shoes like right now. Red lantern patio lights flicker from the awning, a beautiful wood name plaque sits on the front of the trailer, next to our truck that doesn’t look like it’s falling apart…and again, this lovely trailer behind and around me.

All those years in a tent. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything (well, maybe a few I would…but those trips make for good stories—like the night I was visited by three skunks in my campsite). But now I sleep on a real mattress, I can take ice cream and other frozen items when we head out, we don’t have to lug coolers and worry about ice, when the heat and humidity get to me, and I can escape to air conditioned comfort, I can microwave a snack or bake cinnamon rolls in the morning.

I suppose all those appreciations are the difference between me and someone who started camping at this level. They take for granted all the amenities: refrigerator/freezer, microwave, oven, hot water, shower, etc. They don’t feel lucky. They probably don’t sit out here in near darkness writing in their journals about how lucky they feel to have what they have. Yes, we’re in debt up to our eyeballs, but being out here in this kingdom is really the only thing that brings that feeling of contentment for me. My life greatly lacks that quality. But here, tonight, under the awning of our 26 foot trailer, I sit with a smile on my face for a couple hours. All the bad stuff in my life is gone right now and I’m a contented person feeling so lucky to be having this experience. And it makes it all the better knowing how many more times I will sit in this spot yet again this summer.

Feels like nothing short of a miracle that I can feel this way.

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