When we were children, our family would go camping every summer. Those were glorious times, filled with adventure and intrigue. Even as adults, camping was a special event.
Before I was married, my fiancee joined my family in a trip to Strawberry mountain. Even the name sounds wonderful doesn't it?
Anyhow, one early afternoon while the guys and kids were at the lake fishing, Mum, Sissy and I watched in amazement as an old pickup barreled into the next campsite. In a rush and a frazzle the young couple threw a tarp over the entire vehicle, then climbed into the back of the truck to huddle beneath.
Suddenly there was a deafening bellow of sound comparable to what Rip Van Winkle must have heard--the powerful awesome thunder of nine-pins echoing back and forth against the mountainsides to rumble down into the earth between our toes.
Then it began to rain. It started softly enough, but quickly grew in intensity. Then our fire started to go out--we rushed around, gathering sticks and burnables from the surrounding woods, tossing more and more wood onto the fire until it raged and spluttered against the onslaught.
Rainwater ran unchecked from the crowns of our heads, into our eyes and faces. Hair wet and whipping, we kept adding to the flickering flames, as the skies grew ominously darker, and cruel lightning split the skies. Thunder boomed and the wind howled, throwing handfuls of rain and hail sideways against our aching bodies.
But the fire roared back in pure spite--so when the rest of our group tromped their cold and wet way into camp, warmth and firelight greeted them. As fast as the rain fell, the fire warmed us. Steam rose from our clothing to mingle with the downpour. And we smiled at one another, reveling in the pure adventure of it all.
Then, as quickly as it came, the storm departed, leaving the air clear and full of sunshine. Our neighbors came out from beneath their tarp, folded it up and went on their way.
The mountains can be dangerous and caprices. But in contrast to the violence which sometimes makes itself known, time spent in the mountains can be filled with the stillness of starlight, the aroma of pine, the crackle of the fire and poignant, fragrant memories of family togetherness.