(This post is dedicated to my camping cousins. We survived our experiences!)
My parents loved camping vacations, experiences which cemented my status as a non-camping enthusiast. We never slept in a cabin, an RV or even a pop-up camper. We had a 250 pound, leaks-if-you-touch-it-during-the-rain, cabin tent that required several hands to carry and erect. Setting up camp in the dark was mandatory so we could not see the dismal surroundings. That might trigger a revolt, accompanied by pitiful pleas to return home.
We moved into the austere surroundings of our tent one night where I quickly succumbed to exhaustion. In the wee hours I was awakened by my Mom’s scream. We were camping along a reservoir and the dam guy, who watched over the dam, forgot to open the dam drain valve. A critical gauge gave him a faulty indication. Someone piloted a boat 7 miles down the winding river to the control shack to let the man know the campers were in an uproar. Meanwhile we moved to higher ground. Quickly.
The human waste disposal facility for the camp was a pair of fiberglass outhouses 1/4 mile from the camp site. The last section of the trek followed a narrow path straight up the hill. Visitors needed to plan ahead to avoid rush hour. It was important to BYOP.
Flying critters hovered around every opening and caustic odors rose from the seat hole. I was certain the sulphuric vapors originated in Hell itself. The acrid fumes burned the hairs out of nostrils and created a sense of urgency to get done with business and run. No magazine reading in that place.
A night trip to the facility required a reliable flashlight, and if possible, a trustworthy companion. There is safety in numbers. Using the facility in the dark was a challenge, but getting there was the real adventure. There are snakes in West Virginia, and not all of them are harmless green snakes. There are copperheads and timber rattlesnakes and those babies roam at night, looking for children who are supposed to be tucked away in sleeping bags. I happened upon a rattler stretched across the path one night. For some reason my sense of urgency to visit the shack was gone but the lessons I learned were pure gold.
- Always check your batteries.
- Never walk faster than your flashlight.
- Stay within the comforting circle of the light.
I learned to use my flashlight, held high and pointed down, to create a safety zone where I could move without fear. There are things, places, and people in life that will harm us. We need light so we don’t step on something harmful. God has provided that light. Read these words:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Let’s make sure we take our steps in the light of His Word. Slow down. Stay in the safety circle, and enjoy the journey.