It was my second ever Mother’s Day.
I’d come home from a surf to find Michael and Hakavai in the driveway, in the car, with the engine revving.
“C’mon darl, jump in, we’re going camping!”
“When?” I asked, somewhat apprehensively.
“Right now darl, let’s get going!”.
Did I want to go camping right at that point? No. Not terribly. I wanted a shower and a hot cup of tea. Maybe a little nap.
Did I think it was a suitable gift for Mother’s Day? See my answer above.
But I didn’t want to dampen Michael’s enthusiasm, so I said “Wow! OK! You’re being spontaneous, this will be great! Um, should we pack?”
“Nah darl, I’ve packed up some of the gear in the garage.”
Right. *Insert pause from me*.
We engaged in a somewhat heated discussion about what he had and hadn’t packed (pot and pan set, yes, Hakavai’s bed roll, no).
We stopped off quickly at the shops to get some essentials and continued our hour-long journey south along the highway. Hakavai was asleep in the back, sunlight stippled across his pudgy cheeks.
I felt nostalgic and wistful for the days when he was a little baby. And then I reminded myself that he was still a baby, and then reminded myself that he’s only going to keep getting older, which made me feel even sadder ….. but then my favourite song came on the radio which completely distracted me from my feelings.
We arrived at our camping destination. Since it was a Sunday, most people were going home which was excellent because it meant we had the campsite all to ourselves.
(I like people, I find small talk awkward).
We ferried our stuff down to the campsite. Then walked back up to get more stuff. Then ferried it down to the campsite. Then walked back up and did more ferrying until all our stuff was out of the car (I got in trouble because I got distracted by a beetle and didn’t help Michael with the rest of the loads).
Hakavai and I both got in the way as Michael was setting up our campsite, so we went down to the beach, smelt the salt in the air, frolicked in rock pools, marvelled at the shells the size of Hakavai’s fingernails, and the way the foam latticed up the gritty sand.
And all of a sudden, I felt immensely grateful to be there, on Yuin country (NSW South Coast) in the dusky afternoon.
Our campsite was excellent (I mean, Michael had done an okay job). We blanched some warrigal greens in the pot, then reserved the boiling water to make couscous, and served it with grilled campfire fish. Delicious.
As the sun sleepily went to bed, the stars and moon came out in full force and the three of us ran around the campsite to look at them.
Covered in salt and sand and cous cous, Hakavai was fully exhausted and ready to sleep. We lay in the tent with him, he pottered around for a bit, and then had his bottle and was knocked out.
Michael and I were right behind, out like a light within about two minutes.
And we stayed like that, all snug in our sleeping bags until about 5am, when Hakavai sat up in bed and started woofing. Like a dog.
We ate breakfast, swam, and then ferried the three loads of gear back to the car for the drive home, not 24 hours after we’d arrived.
But that’s what I love about camping.
The way time slows down. That there’s nothing to consider but the thick salt air, or how the fresh breeze feels on your sticky post-bushwalk skin, and the dizzying display of dusty, silver green gum trees all around you….
No action to take today.
Just a story about camping that I hope you enjoyed.
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