Camping at 60 – Napping with Nature

tree-frogI went on a road trip. I chose camping over an air conditioned hotel room. But when I returned . . . yikes! My inbox is INSANE! 321 emails, 43 mosquito bites, 3 spider bites, 1 head wound followed by a tetanus shot that has me feeling worse than the wound itself, 8 loads of laundry, and a to-do list I am chipping madly away at . . . but my cat is happy to be home, and we are all happy to have our sea legs again. 3000 miles, one storybook wedding (my oldest son), and a battle with ticks (and various other bloodthirsty insects) for 7 straight days. I love Colorado – almost NO bugs here . . . some, but nothing like east of the Missouri river.

Camping at 60 years old . . . sleeping on the ground at my age is, well, let’s just say that I don’t recommend it. BUT, if you are as crazy as I apparently am, I recommend those fabulous Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pads—no back ache! Bug spray? Doesn’t work. Tried them all. Blood type is irrelevant. Ingredients are irrelevant. Deet is irrelevant. The only things any of them deter are friends, family, and lovers.

Food . . . dry ice is useless. Regular ice lasts longer but soaks everything as it melts, which it does rather rapidly in 100 degree temps. Good coolers? No such thing.

Traffic? Steer clear of Kansas City (either state) and Chicago, unless you happen to be an adrenalin junkie. Yes, it is entirely possible to have the scare of a lifetime boxed in between semi-trucks and cars on a highway while moving at a mere 2 miles per hour. If you are having any difficulty keeping track of your mileage, Missouri has you covered—they mark it for you every two tenths of a mile. Some MO government official must have a relative in the sign business. On the other hand, when you REALLY need to know what road you’re on—in the dark of a new moon night where no cell signal is to be had for Lulu or Tom-Tom or Goo-Google—there are no signs whatsoever. Some other relative must be a comedian.

The wedding was spectacular! My passengers dressed in the car while I attempted to navigate several highways under construction between Amish, Indiana and Wedding, Indiana (no, you will not find those listed on the map). “EXIT CLOSED” and no detour signs. Being the driver, I didn’t have the option of changing into my fancy dress while flying down the highway in search of an exit that was open. We were late, but so was the groom. Having had the bachelor party the night before the wedding, some of the groomsmen were looking a little rough around the edges. Oh to be young and not so bright again. Or not.

I reiterate that the wedding was indeed spectacular. Ne’er have a more beautiful bride and handsome groom been wed in the Indiana heat and humidity. As the mother of the groom, my heart burst with joy to see the love they emanated. And, as the sweat poured from my armpits into the “hippie dress” I had worn to go in search of Amish cheese and frozen yogurt earlier in the day, I said a prayer for their happy day to remain with them throughout their long and happy lives.

Following the vows, the DJ struck up the music and the dance floor became a contestant for America’s most haunted . . . except for the tiny flower girl and her chosen dance partner. I suppose the open bar was a distraction for the larger people. We mingled among those we knew and some we just met. It was fun to see my sons’ high school buddies all grown up and wearing suits and ties.

The food was exquisite. The ambience was pure Princess Bride material. May the bride and groom live happily ever after.

Somehow, during that great escape, however, I misplaced my “give-a-hoot-about-computers” gene. It was, in fact, replaced by a genuine revulsion of the entire world wide web (aka: “internet” – for those too young to remember what the www stands for). I’m aghast. I’ve looked high and low for the darn thing, to no avail. I’ve been working on finishing this little blog post for over 2 weeks already, and cannot wrap my head around actually slogging through the steps it will take to upload it to my website. Why?

I’ll tell you why! Nature and the Open Road have conspired together to corrupt my motivation. This is how completely above and beyond any Ones and Zeros that Nature can be . . . FIREFLIES! Fireflies lit up the trees in the backwoods of Iowa—it was like some kind of Christmas display on steroids. FROGS! Tree Frogs sang their mating song in unison in the dark of the night, and the rumbling they made sounded like I can only imagine the inner grumblings of the earth might sound just before turning itself inside-out. THE MILKY WAY! I’ve never seen THAT much of our galaxy salting the sky. FLOWERS! They were everywhere! The colors and scents were ravishing! Wild raspberries lined our path as we strolled between woodland and meadows. And BIRDS! Awaking to the sounds of happy chirping birds is one of my favorite things about being on this planet, but when a cacophony of birds sound off at 5 AM like a monstrous alarm clock, it’s easy to imagine how Hitchcock came up with his story about The Birds. CLOVER! I found a 4-leaf clover! They really do exist. And maybe it helped us all get home again safe and sound . . .

to my computer and the world wide web/internet.

Blog thusly posted.


© Jennifer Sweete, July 2017

Look for my future Jennifer Sweete blog posts right here!

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Books I have enjoyed reading this season:

Plato and Aristotle. A fascinating study of two philosophers somewhat at odds . . . but maybe not really as much as it looks on the surface!

YA Indie Author, Rodi Szoke’s first in a series: Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two – WOW! Reading for the fifth time in six months – what a GREAT story!!!

Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!

Jennifer Sweete is the author of Dear Sandy: The letter that wrote itself into a Book (2015) and The Poet & The Widow (2016). She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and teacher, a small business and writer’s consultant, self-mastery coach, musician, poet, and author. And they all fit snugly into the same hat! She’s currently serving her 2nd term as President of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange while assisting other authors through the processes of editing, self-publishing and marketing their books. She resides with her husband, grandson, and furry friend in sunny Colorado. For more info, contact her at


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