When you grow up in a town that is surrounded by the beauty of the mountains, you go camping, fishing, hiking, and long rides in your ATV. I suppose skiing is another sport one does when snow comes along. I, on the other hand, have never been skiing. When I share this little bit of news I get a lot of flak and surprise. After all, Taos has one of the best ski spots in the whole country. It was too expensive for my family. Camping, however, was something of a tradition for my family.
Every year on the fourth of July, for as long as I can remember, we would pack up our gear and head to the mountains for a long weekend of adventure. To be clear, it was an extended family tradition. My folks did not believe in camping. Hey, it’s not for everyone, I’ll never understand it, but I can respect that. Luckily, my Uncles and Aunts, who were into the adventure, were generous enough to invite my sister and I to come along.
The one aspect I love about camping is the breath-taking views of the wilderness. The tall erected pine trees, the long swaying grass, the sound of the rolling river and of course the warmth and light the camp fire brought. As a kid, the one thing to look forward to after a delicious meal is roasting marshmallows and telling stories around that fire.
The first time I tasted beer was when I was camping. My sister and I waited for our younger cousins to fall asleep that night, since we were sharing a tent, so we could sneak out and have a beer. It was my Aunt’s brother who suggested the idea to us, and being the wild nature girls we were are, we accepted the invitation.
We sat around the fire and drank our yellow colored carbonated drink- I think it was something called Bud Light. It only took one 12 ounce can of that shit to get me buzzed, or what I thought was drunk. So naturally, as any drunk teenager would do, I made out with the guy that was camping next to us. I was 17 at the time. The boy I made out with, was 13. NO JUDGING! I was drunk remember. And he was cute, for a little guy, or at least after drinking that beer he looked pretty darn cute. Anyway, that’s what’s so great about camping. Letting go of your inhibitions and enjoying life.
I hold a lot of fond and daring memories of those times in the mountains. I learned a lot about nature as well. I found out the hard way what Poison Ivy looks like and to avoid it after my first encounter. I learned how to use the bathroom when there was no bathroom available. I also learned that you can never have too many S’mores. Mostly, camping gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with the people you love.
Today I get to pass some of that tradition to my own children. It is such a joy to teach them about the love and respect for nature. With our world becoming more and more disconnected with it, I find it imperative I show them the importance of preserving our land. Our children today are more likely to identify Corporate Logos over types of trees and flowers. Some children don’t know the difference between a tomato and potato. True story. By the time our children become adults, they would have spent most of their childhood surrounded by concrete and electronics rather than the greenery of the planet.
We live in such a beautiful world. It is in that beauty where we find ourselves- our creativity, our strength, our spirituality and our love. No matter what our beliefs, it is our responsibility to be good stewards to this precious and unique planet we call home.