Also, I know I was camping literally a week ago, but I want to go again right now. With the exception of my giant bed and, you know, electricity and running water and plumbing, I do my best to camp in my house as a poor substitute for actually camping. I leave all the windows open, so when it's hot, it's hot in here, too. I leave all the windows open, so when it rains, it rains in here, too. Yes, I've slept in a wet bed because I didn't want to close the window, and a decent number of my class readings are water damaged. XP I put towels down to spare the carpet, since that's not mine.
Today a huge storm whipped up, delightfully chasing away the heat. But the winds were so strong they actually slammed my laptop closed over my hands and flung it across the bed. THERE ARE LEAVES 15 FEET INSIDE MY HOUSE, FROM MY BEDROOM WINDOW. But I still can't bring myself to close it, because wind. Rain. I just want it here with me.
Speaking of, yes! Camping! My first time camping in Michigan! Or actually, anywhere east of Montana! We went to the southern part of Lake Michigan, closeish to Chicagoland.
FIRST, A BEE (THOUGH NOT A HONEY BEE, APIS MELLIFERA), BECAUSE WHAT POST WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT ONE, REALLY:
MY TENT. It's a Firefly class tent, so naturally I've named her Serenity Valley. She's true to her namesake in terms of dependability so far.
AND FLATNESS. While we were camping, one of my bff's friends was posting her pics from her epic backpacking of the John Muir trail. The landscape and the photography was phenomenal, and our photography, as you can see from this selection, is complete shit. XD But to my credit, Lake Michigan really did look as flat and surreally perspectiveless as this photo does, so job well done, point-and-shoot camera, job well done:
I've never seen a body of freshwater so big before. It tripped us both out, because it seemed like it should be ocean, but it wasn't. It didn't smell like ocean, or even feel like ocean, or sound like ocean. There was no real tide, no waves to speak of.
We went again after a dramatic, torrential lightning storm (with uh, disturbingly nearby lightning--but the tent is as waterproof as it hoped it was!) and there was more strength to the water then, all small waves pulling timidly at your ankles, stealing the sand from under your feet the way the ocean does. In the words of my mother, after I'd described the lake to her, "Ah, so it felt like a living thing finally."
Yes, yes exactly. We're from NorCal, man. Our ocean is cold, and rough, and loud. It will cramp your calves if you step into it too quickly and its currents will hyperextend limbs, rip muscles, bash your head against rocks. It will drag you under and hold you there, tumbling through sand and no longer certain where up is, where down is. It will make you wonder whether you can actually hold your breath that long. (You can.) It expects that you've grown up with it, that you know that critical moment when you are too exhausted to play anymore. That you will know when it is time to hobble back to shore, too numb to feel or really move your legs. It requires that you be willing to shiver violently for too long after the fact, that you will agree to slick off wet clothing, slick on dry clothing over your wet body. That you are willing to sting for hours afterward, salt slammed into all your pores. That you don't mind washing kelp and gull's feathers from your hair at home, miles from the sea. That you will be okay with letting saltwater pour from your nose for hours, sweeping sand out of your ears for days to come. It demands that you respect it as a living thing, a thing that can kill you.
You demand something, too: That the sea remember that it has killed people you loved. And you will never let it take you, too.
tl;dr I really love my ocean. This lake was not that ocean, but I can respect it as a separate thing. (Truth be told, unless it's legitimately from a glacier close enough to still see, freshwater kind of skeeves me out.)
But today I'll dream of backpacking Yosemite, and going to Iceland, and all the innumerable places I desperately want to go someday. (Okay, so I don't desperately want to go to Yosemite, but it's essentially local to my hometown, so it seems silly not to have been!)