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Red Shoe Ramblings » Mountaintop Memories

Mountaintop Memories


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This week over at Create a Connection, Holly is asking questions about nature and our connection to it. Question one, in particular, sparked some memories for me, so I’m just responding to that one. Let me tell you about me and the great outdoors.

What are some of your memories about the “great outdoors?” (games played outside, camping, hiking, bike riding, running in the rain)

You know how you so often hear women say “I was such a tomboy when I was a kid?” Well…I wasn’t. I was a very girly girl. I played dolls, and house, and dress-up. I liked pretty clothes, and ribbons, and shoes. I read books, and drew pictures, and daydreamed.

That doesn’t mean I spent all my time indoors though. I loved riding my bike (it’s that wind in the hair thing - I’ve always loved it) and running barefoot through puddles after it rained (my mom hated that one). I liked climbing trees, even though I was always better at getting up them than getting down again. But even then I didn’t enjoy playing ball, or sweating, or getting dirty. (I know, could I be more prissy??)

Despite that, there was a small stretch of woods near our house where I loved to play. It was cool and green and shady. There was a small, rocky stream flowing through it, perfect for wading. I’ve always loved the sensation of my feet in the water too.

Even when I was in the woods I was super-girly about it though. There was a certain stretch of that stream in that woods that broadened as it went through a clearing and I mentally claimed that area as my personal domain - my magical outdoor home. There was a fallen log with a big flat rock on either side that marked the entrance - one rock for a porch, one for an entry hall. There was another big flat rock jutting out of a bank that made a perfect seat, and yet another really huge one toward the back of that clearing that I decided was my patio. Remember the show WKRP in Cincinnati and how Les Nessman would get upset with people who didn’t respect the “walls” he laid out with duct tape around his desk? Um, yeah…I kind of understood that. Heh.

So even though I played outdoors as a child, I was never really into more ruggedly outdoor stuff like camping and hiking, which perhaps makes it a bit odd that when I was 23 I decided to spend a week on a dude ranch in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

I spent the better part of a week on horseback, despite the fact that I’d only been on a horse once before that in my entire life. I went white water rafting, despite the fact that I can’t swim. And I had a blast doing all of it!

Then there was one of my very favorite parts of that trip - something that is still a favorite memory of mine. I spent one day on an all-day trail ride that ended in a clearing more than 9,000 feet up a mountain, where we camped for the night.

Colorado clearing

That night, for the first time in my life, I slept completely out in the open - no tent, just a sleeping bag thrown down on the ground. (They had tents available, BTW, I just chose not to use one.) And that night I discovered something that spoke to my soul.

I loved lying there in the dark, listening to the wind soughing through the treetops, the moon huge and bright above me, the stars looking so close I felt like I should be able to reach up and run my hands through them like tinsel on a Christmas tree. I felt utterly at peace there. Even now, 22 years later, I can close my eyes and feel what it was like. And even now, I - the girly girl who used to build imaginary walls in the woods - love sleeping out in the open.

I detest tents and am not crazy about campers, but find me a dry patch of ground under the stars on a mild night and I’ll sleep like a baby. In fact, I’d throw a sleeping bag on the deck and sleep out there when I’m home way more often than I do if I could get J to go along with it, but he’s not nearly as enamored of the experience as I am, and it seems rude to abandon him for the stars and the wind. But lordy, there are nights when it’s tempting.

Here’s today’s Daily Art Thang:

shroom

“Fungus AmongUs” (Both photos are clickable if you want to see them larger in a new window - although the photo from Colorado is a bit damaged. I’m hoping to do a better job of correcting it when I get my new photo editing software.)

7 Responses to “Mountaintop Memories”

  1. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:51 am Janet

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    love your story about sleeping under the stars :-)

    That mushroom looks like a fairy ’shroom!

  2. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:53 am JC

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    Love the phungus photo!

    That’s a great story about your love of sleeping outdoors. Just watch out for bears.

  3. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:55 am Star

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    I think I’m more of a hybrid–not a tomboy and not a complete girly-girl either (but I probably tend that way).

    I was much better at climbing up than down, usually getting skinned up on knees and elbows. Although I did go to Girl Scout camp a few times, I am not a camper; call me frivolous, but I like having a bathroom there if I need it. Your dude ranch experience sounds wonderful. I can swim, but rafting sounds intimidating to me.

    Les Nessman: he was a special breed :)

  4. on 12 Jul 2007 at 1:40 pm Melba

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    I really enjoyed this post.
    I was like that as a girl too..girly, not into sports much, but I loved the woods near our home and I liked to ride my blike.

    and I do remember wkrp.

  5. on 12 Jul 2007 at 3:44 pm ceanandjen

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    I was a total girly-girly as well. I still don’t like to get dirty, and I am still an not an “outdoorsy” kind of gal. I love that you had that experience in Colorado though and that it opened you up to a new way of thinking about the outdoors.

    xoxo

  6. on 13 Jul 2007 at 8:52 am Laura F.

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    I wouldn’t say I was a tomboy, since I was often pretending I was Luthien (well, really, I had a whole Tolkien-pastiche world going on, so another name of a heroine who didn’t meet a tragic end). But I was outside a lot, and we camped a lot.

    Deb, would you be interested in trying this Tarot-photo project Laume proposed? I just posted a little about it & you can find the link back to her proposal there. You were the first person I thought of, when I wondered what other people would come up with. :)

  7. on 17 Jul 2007 at 6:12 pm daisies

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    i think its funny how us tomboys have a hidden or not so hidden girly girly side and you girly girls have a hidden or not so hidden tomboy side :) i’m guessing we are all a little bit of both …

    less nessman ~ yeah baby ;-)