a summer of camping

This summer has been filled with some fantastic camping. Often it has seemed to be ‘too hot’ in the city to do much of anything, but when trees replace cement buildings, streams replace sidewalks, and lakes replace parking lots and malls, suddenly the heat becomes manageable. Trees and bushes absorb rather than reflect and amplify heat as well as provide protection from the intensity of the sun, and water serves as a constant cooler. And so, I have done my best to be outside, near water, as much as possible.

On these trips I have taken a break from photography. Not because I don’t love photography, but because I needed a break from being behind the lens. I have wanted to see and experience without the lens  of a camera acting as a small barrier between me and life. I wanted to turn off the part of my brain that is constantly framing an image, timing lighting, and working to best capture vivid colors. My hope was that this would provide a breath of fresh air for me, and would facilitate living and playing much. It has been a beautiful time.

Last weekend was the annual “Crane Kid” camping trip, which for the first time ever included both of my parents. I really should rename the trip to “Crane” camping trip seeing as we had three generations represented between my parents, siblings and nephew. It was a perfect cap on the summer: hours playing in a lake, kayaking to islands, board games by flashlight, and a peach crisp over an open fire. What I love most about this time is that it pulls us all out of our respective spaces. Surrounded by nature, there is no hiding behind technology or household duties, and we are simply together. For me, this is the makings of a perfect vacation.

 This is my nephew, Thumper, chilling out in the afternoon heat. He had so much fun explore: rocks, sticks, spiders, and water – who could ask for more? Photo compliments of his mom, Esther.

As this season of camping draws towards a close, I have packed up most of my camping supplies and sent them back with my parents to use while I am in Rwanda. I reserved my small 2-man tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag for Rwanda in hopes of fun to come. As I leave the rest of my camping gear behind, I am starting to dream of putting together a new “Africa camping box” when I arrive in Rwanda inspired by art as much as utility… check out this post by Artemis Russell on her site, junkaholique, to see some of my inspiration. I promise to take my camera out more when I am there so as to share with you the beauty of the land that will become my home. Although it is a densely populated country, I am confident, hopeful, of finding new spots that can become my own.

In the next few weeks, I do promise two additional posts on camping – but I fear these will be informational more than anything. When searching online for details on these two sites, there was a void of helpful information, so I hope these posts serve well those who come after me. I hope that will be some of you. And, even if you do not go to these spots, I hope you find nature escapes that are welcoming regardless of the weather – places where you can live large with loved ones.

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