Tuesday, June 16, 2009

King of the Forest

It was a glorious summer day in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Late August, I believe.

I had my son slung on my back in a papoose contraption and I had my daughter slung from a sling like contraption around my chest.

Together, my children weighed about forty-five pounds.

We hiked along some forest trails, up ravines, and over river gorge log bridges.

The air was fresh and clean and smelled of pine needles.

The children were curious and asked many questions about the woods and the plants therein.

My wife constructed a crown made of wild flowers and crowned me King of the Forest.

I could not help but do a rendition of the same song from the "Wizard of OZ" sung by Bert Lahr.

Naturally, my children thought Daddy was very funny acting like a cowardly lion in the middle of the forest.

Our day was filled with wonder.

That evening, after dinner, we sat around a roaring campfire as the evening grew chillier and chillier.

Marshmallows and s'mores were the event of the night and were enjoyed by all.

We tucked the children into their sleeping bags and kissed them goodnight.

My wife and I sat quietly by the fire afterwards sipping a fine red wine.

It's easy to lose yourself while watching a fire outdoors in the dark of night when all your loved ones are safe and sound.

Peace surrounds you and there is little or no time for worry about tomorrow.

The weather turned cold overnight and I remember that my nose was freezing as that was the only part of my body sticking out of my mummy bag.

Being a good camper, I had taken off every stitch of clothing before retiring so that in the morning when I left the warmth and comfort of my sleeping bag, my body would insist that I dress as quickly as possible and not feel the cold.

I made a pot of coffee and drank a goodly amount with sugar.

It's wonderful to be up just before sunrise when the forest is still and the aroma and taste of coffee is rich and satisfying.

Before the rest of the family arose, I grabbed my towel and toiletries and headed down the gravel road to the showers.

The air was brisk and crisp that morning.

I inhaled greedily enjoying the mountain air.

I got in the shower and turned the hot water on as hot it could be and washed.

Afterwards, I rubbed down with a big fluffy Turkish towel and dressed quickly.

As I left the shower building, the clouds were forming over the ridges in the mountains and the Sun was just rising.

The heat from my shower was still on my body as it met the cool air of the mountains.

What an exhilarating feeling!

It felt as though the world was perfect and I might really be the King of the Forest.

I returned to our campsite and looked in on my children as they snuggled down deeply in their sleeping bags.

They both looked like angels to me and I realized that, indeed, I was the King of the Forest.

A guest post written by my Father, The King.


Anonymous said...

I read this enjoying it the whole way thinking it was Kevin you were talking about but when I read who the author was I got emotional. Life as hard as it was financially for your parents their were good family times and lots of love back then. I would have met you parents when you were 4 or 5. I remember those times with fondness. I think I have been to that campground you Dad speaks of. It was just a beautiful as he described.
Aunt Candy

Sayre said...

Camping has a way of making one feel like the master of his world. Where everyone is safe and snug and it's all beautiful and serene.

That was lovely, OTJ's Dad.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful memory to cherish always.

Mary G said...

Sure can see where you got the gift of words and images.

Color Printing said...

That's such a sweet post. Made me miss my father, though I haven't really experienced camping with him. He's a bit of a coward. Haha! But I love him though...

Elisa said...

What a gorgeous, gorgeous post! I don't even like camping, but this made me feel like I'm missing out. Beautiful!

Not Hannah said...

So...capturing those snapshots that make life so rich...it runs in the family, hunh?


WILLIAM said...


Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful story. Your dad is a great writer!

Crazy Computer Dad said...

I learned to snowboard in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I've hiked up Mt Washington twice. I spent a 4th of July one year hiking up to a waterfall there, having dinner underneath it, and then hiking back in the dark. It has been almost 20 years since I left Maine and I miss it. This story makes me miss it even more.

I think too often we underestimate the power that writing has. It can be a timeless treasure, capturing moments of our lives that will live on after we are gone. We may think it to be some what insignificant now, but our children, grand children, and beyond would probably love to have these pieces of us, preserved and alive through reading.

Thank you for sharing the story!

Heidi said...

They have showers where you camp? I am so jealous! Wonderful post. Very descriptive. Thanks!

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Sweet - I thought it was Kevin too! Oh to hear my father again - and have him talk about us? Divine!
It makes me misty to even think about it...

maybe you'll stop by my site sometime (hint, hint)

carrie said...

I enjoyed that so much! Thank you!

Margie S. said...

Beautiful. This is so good that it makes me want to try to capture something from my life with even half the richness and simplicity of this post. Thank you so much!

Vodka Mom said...

that was lovely.