9-3 Island camping, insectious moments, shy Mother Nature, chai coffee
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
A momma and her son have been camping on an island across from where I’m camped. Their dog too, who could wander freely without getting lost.
At night I’d see the faint glow of a flickering campfire on their island from across the water.
This morning they loaded up their kayaks and paddled back over to the boat ramp near me. I strolled over and they tell me it’s a ritual of theirs to camp on the island and it was their retreat during the COVID shutdown.
What an amazing, wonderful idea! To have one’s own island paradise to camp on yet not too far from civilization.
I could tell the island worked its magic on her — she was blissed out with nary a worry on her soul in the moment. And her young son has stories to tell of adventures as a pirate burying pretend gold over yonder.
Looks like Mom is coming back to Florida for a few weeks. I’ll be changing course and swing back around to spend time with her.
I’ve always cherished those brief shining moments with her — they’re even more precious now what with her memory fading into silence.
The thing about camping life is one needs to keep the inside of their camper as clean as possible otherwise uninvited guests will end up making it their home too.
Ants, roaches, spiders, flies, rodents and the like (even small snakes!) all have a special affinity for campers as I’ve learned over the years.
As my parents can testify I’ve never been a meticulous cleaner nor neat about things. Living in a camper has (mostly) forced a change in that life long un-habit.
I say “mostly” because I’ll have lazy moments where I’ll let things go for awhile and I’ve been able to get away with it (mostly, haw!). The exception is food — it has to be cleaned up as soon as possible or it’s pretext for an invasion from outside.
Speaking of invasions, I’ve also learned by fire that it’s important to check where my camper’s wheels (or anything touching ground) end up at a campsite.
Why? Those pernicious ants.
Roll over and dock on top of a mound and pay a rapidly swarming price..
That lesson was learned in my first year camped in Savannah (Georgia) when I came back a few hours later from a hike to witness the horror of millions of fiery red ants en masse all over my camper.
Which reminds me of another insectious moment a few years later when I was camped at Potts Preserve (Inverness, Florida). I had the issue of no-see-ums feasting on me while I was trying to sleep. Turns out the mesh in my camper’s window screens was wide enough for ’em to sneak through.
The next day I had what I thought was clever idea to pop the screens off and spray them with Deet. Yet it didn’t work for some reason and it was smelly. Ugh.
It hit me to try the Permethrin spray I keep for spraying clothing for longer term protection from bugs.
That did the trick and it only needs to be refreshed every few days.
Yet another tip for you fellow campers out there!
I did something normal and drove over to Grand Rivers in Kentucky to check out their annual Fall arts festival.
It was a different kind of fun, taking me back to those Spring arts festivals I love in Florida. Spritely little kids cartwheeling through in painted faces (some buried in cotton candy). Mostly smiling people milling about, a few pushing pampered dogs in strollers and all sorts of booths hawking their wares.
Atypically of the festivals in Florida, there was no fine art or anything of the sort which I missed.
Still, people watching and good local BBQ made up for it.
After a couple of hours I was thoroughly wiped out. With bleary eyes I return back to my beloved people-less cradle of peace & serenity in nature and swoon into my hammock for a blissful recovery nap.
Mother nature tends to be shy at first.
It is when I’ve dwelled somewhere long enough — a week at least — that she begins to sing, revealing her beauty in subtle ways.
I wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t still enough.
It’s in those tiny, slow moments where she unfurls secrets that tease the stirrings of my heart.
Like seeing the wry smile of an alluring gypsy goddess, I fall in love all over again.
And then I never want to leave.
Reflections of a hidden pond in Land Between the Lakes
The cafe owner of Dog House back in Celina, Tennessee suggested that I mix in a bit of chai tea with a cup of coffee for a nice surprise.
Tried it this evening. Pow! It adds a really nice punch to the java, especially in the aftertaste.
Try it. I think you’ll like it.
#   #   #