But I still really enjoyed myself. We go to the most beautiful spot, and it is fun to watch the kids discover it the way I did as a kid. Wordsworth had it right when he called little boys "nature's priest." Although my Lily is more wild than any of the boys - and more covered in head-to-toe dirt! It is amazing to watch the stages as the kids at first are fascinated with everything, then they get bored wondering what to make of this non-technological world, then their minds begin to open, their imaginations begin to put down roots in the rich mountain soil, and something beautiful and wonderful grows. By the time we leave, they know every rock and tree, where the grasshoppers are, the best skipping rock sites... And they inevitably have established "clubhouses." Not built, or altered from the way they find them, just spots where they gather - a fallen tree that makes a large hollow, the canopy of a giant pine, or a grassy clearing surrounded by aspen trees. I always regret bringing them back to civilization (though one more day without a shower and I'd just cry). In another Wordsworth poem, he writes, "and she shall lean her ear in many a secret place, where rivulets dance their wayward round, and beauty borne of murmuring sound shall pass into her face." This notion resonates within me as I watch my children - filthy, bedraggled, sunburned, bug-bitten and more beautiful than at any polished time because the beauty of nature has passed into their faces.
And so even though it takes me two weeks non-stop preparation followed by a whirlwind camping trip, followed by another two weeks of recovery and laundry, I will never neglect a summer by omitting a trip into the wild for my little wild ones. But I won't be moving there permanently any time soon!