SOMETHING FOR YOUR SPIRIT
What a beautiful day! I hope families took advantage of this perfect summer weather and enjoyed Father's Day together. My husband's side of the family planned a picnic at R.B. Winter State Park also known as Halfway Dam. I said that I had never been there, but as I walked around the park I had flashbacks of being there when I was a child. My family did a lot of camping and some of my fondest memories are of traveling with my siblings and parents to different campsites across Pennsylvania and other states.
At first we thought we were going to Knobel's Grove for the day, but along the way we discovered there had been a misunderstanding between my husband and his mom. He heard her say, "we're leaving early to get a picnic table by the pool at Knobel's Grove." But she claims she said, "a picnic table by the lake at Halfway Dam." They laughed and teased each other along the way about who caused the misunderstanding: his mom for saying the wrong thing or my husband for hearing the wrong thing. I sided with my mother in law. Listening isn't one of my husband's strong points.
My daughter seemed disappointed at first. "If there are no rides, then what's there?" she wanted to know. Within an hour of being there we decided it was better than any amusement park. I'd forgotten how much I love state parks, especially one like this with a beach lake. Sitting in the warm sand was like being at the shore. I looked out across the lake and marveled at the puffs of cloud floating across clear sky. The surrounding forest of trees were so deep green against the blue above. A cool breeze blew in from the lake which made sitting in the sun the perfect place to be. I watched the children play in the sand close to the water and remembered how much I once loved digging in wet sand.
My mom has old movies of my sister and I playing on a beach along a lake in Canada. We had rented a cabin there. I think it was near Quebec. I must have been about eight years old, and I recall my mom catching me on film walking up to my sister with a fist full of sand and throwing it up into her face as she was bent over. This didn't faze her. She just kept digging with her shovel. I guess she was used to such taunting from her little sister.
There's something about camping and sitting under tall pine trees or near a lake that is so relaxing. Today I was reminded why my parents loved that lifestyle so much. In the late sixties and early seventies it seemed that we lived in our camper more than we lived at home. The only thing missing today was the campfire toward evening, roasting marshmallows and making mountain pies. I can still see that bright kerosene lantern sitting on the picnic table and smell the scent of bug spray and burning logs. Some of my greatest childhood memories were formed while camping. It makes me feel like my daughter is being deprived of that.
She never drove for miles in the back of a van with three siblings and an eight-track of John Denver playing over and over. Okay well maybe the John Denver music isn't her favorite. Taylor Swift would be more like it. She hasn't experienced the fun of finding ways to entertain herself for hundreds of miles with games like license plate bingo. She hasn't had the joy of making friends with the kids camping next door, hanging out with them at the pool, walking around the campground, riding bikes, collecting bugs and making forts and bridges until that dreaded day when it was time to go home. I wish I had kept a journal of all my camping experiences. What a treasure that would be.
Being in the woods does something for your spirit even as an adult. My dad must have known that when he bought that little "Scottie" camper we hauled around from Canada to Florida and places in between. After visiting that state park today, I feel like my spirits have been lifted, which is something I must have needed. Last week it was so hot I didn't bother writing my weekly journal. Or maybe I was just uninspired. Maybe I needed a change of scenery.
I'm grateful for those moments in life when I'm pulled away from my daily routine and reminded that there's still much beauty in God's world. He provides places of refuge for us, and when we don't have the sense to go there ourselves, he sends invitations through other people. Sometimes it's a wedding invitation. Sometimes it's an unexpected request to attend an event. And sometimes it's a gathering of family at a beach lake park on a perfect summer day. Don't turn down those invitations. Because you'll hear about it later and wish you would have gone.