After Winter…Or, The Day We Bought a Camper

 

After all of my months of whining and complaining I feel it only fair to y’all who’ve stuck with me that I write something positive. Optimistically we have finally, FINALLY, met the end of this long winter! I know it seems silly to some of you, but this season broke me in new ways which I have recounted endlessly over the past few months, if you missed those posts, here and here are two for you to commiserate with.

Yesterday my littles and I were outside for the entire day, Friday we spent a few hours at  a park with our homeschool co-op. Today, once the sun rises high and the chill blows out with the wind, we’ll be back out there, digging into the dirt to find the depth of the frost. Moving compost, wondering over the warmth of the sun, which mere days ago seemed to give off a feeble heat at best. It’s about time. I am so grateful for the return of spring-like temperatures, and as I anxiously await the first rainstorm of the year, I realize that I have found my smile again.

Over this winter as I wondered how I would make it through, how I could hold-out until the weather turned, I proposed this off-the-wall idea to my husband. It was something that had been bouncing around in my head for quite some time but really seemed unrealistic. I had thought about roadschooling our littles, but with older children, a house, a yard, a need for full time income and insurance, more…getting the eff out of this frigid state seemed far-fetched. Nah, it seemed completely insane. One day I did it though, I actually said out loud; “What if we bought a camper?”.

 

My sweet husband has made many jokes about living in a camper. He has questioned my desire and where it comes from. He may indeed, think I’ve lost my damn mind, though he’s never said that exact thing. Instead, he picked up the search. He started researching, took us all to look at travel trailers, learned about how much weight his truck could haul. He has made my crazy dream a possibility by backing a thirty-five-foot trailer into our suburban driveway. We have our first outing planned in two weeks and I can not wait! While we are only hauling across town to figure out what we don’t know I feel like it is the first step down the right path.

So new adventures will begin. I realize all too well that camping costs money, while there are free places to stay mostly we are going to have to get creative if there are extensive trips in our future, and I hope that there are. I don’t want to have a camper solely for Summertime getaways. No, what I want is to have a camper so that I can get away to the Summer when Winter is in full force here. One of the more difficult tasks on our list proved to be finding a place that would stay plowed out so that we could hook up and drive South in January. How to do that though is more difficult than just finding an accessible storage facility, perhaps I’ll have to figure out how to write a blog that earns me a few bucks each month, though my understanding of how that works is pretty limited. Plus, I’m guessing a few more people would actually have to read what I have to say, and my opinions are definitely not for everyone.

I’ve claimed the gypsy spirit many times in my writing and I suppose it’s never been more true than in this new direction laid before me. We now have the means to go. To just go, like, anywhere. Over the next several months we hope not only to perfect our abilities to set up and enjoy camp. I will learn how to pull and back up our trailer so that I can go adventuring by myself if there is a desire to do so. We will not only master working together to level the trailer, but we will find a balance that works for us and our littles, we will work out all of the kinks. More than that though I hope to hear my inner voice clearly, to listen not just to my own spirit, but to the whispers that God has put in my soul. To hear, to pray, to follow His leading more closely. I think I am in a good mental place to do that now and I have no doubt that the physical places we are led to will allow the vision God has for us to be seen with fresh eyes.

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This seems a lot like running away. I hear it as I reread what I’ve written. If you’ve hung around my blog long enough though (for an example, read here), you’ll know that something I do well is wandering, my peace is found not only with dirt under my nails, but also with the road humming beneath my wheels. I choose to not see it as running from home, but rather, running to it. I don’t look at it as avoiding my life, but more fully living it. I know what everyone tells you; get married, work hard, buy a house, make some babies…those things are good and they are what we are supposed to be striving toward. I don’t think we’re all cut out for that though. Some of us, maybe, aren’t meant to stay in one place for all of our days.

I’d be a liar if I told you I didn’t long for a garden every day that I didn’t have one. A piece of earth to create on is something I could not live happily without, there was always this sadness when I thought about the plants I walked away from all of those years ago. Even now, while I have lilies and roses and cosmos again, I can still see the pumpkin patch and smell the earth in the flower beds that I dug. I can still remember planting seeds on Spring evenings. I can still feel the sweat from hauling water and pulling weeds on hot Summer mornings. These memories won’t leave me, they sometimes ask me where I went and why I didn’t take them along…is that crazy? Some of you may not get it, I’m thankful to love a man who does, or at least a man who trusts me enough to let me be a teensy bit crazy.

What do I do with that? Can I walk away from a yard full of five summers of hard work? Can I give this garden to someone else, knowing full well that I won’t have one for who knows how long? Can I even be happy without a place to call my own? I don’t have those answers today. Because today the weather is warm, my feet are dirty and my heart is full, it’s difficult to walk away from it in the Summer. Winter winds will blow again though. When they do, they will force me indoors to snuggle with my family, feeling the weight of their immense chill deep in my bones. As much as I want to forget that Winter exists, I must use it as my motivation this Summer. My reminder that all cities have gardens, that I can dig in the earth and leave it more beautiful no matter where we go. There is a freedom in thinking about making more of creation a little better, instead of simply my own small square of it.

Of course there are other concerns, things to consider if we are really and truly going to drive away. Those major decisions can wait though. For today, for this season, I only want to get out and explore, to decide if we can live together in such a small space peacefully. To see if we could possibly enjoy each other enough to go about life in this wild and somewhat unheard of way. I feel the call to it, to this one wild and crazy life. I will listen carefully and move slowly, knowing in the very deepest part of me that there is no destination in this life,  believing that there is only the journey.

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