I can't quite describe that feeling. The one where you can hear nothing else, not the hum of a furnace, the screech of a car, the buzz of a passing airplane, the bark of a nearby dog or the slam of a neighbor's front door, just nothing except the sound of your children and husband soundly slumbering away in the middle of the woods.
We decided to go "camping" at noon on Thursday at a woodsy park on a lake not too far from home. I checked the online information and called the Ranger, hanging up the phone with delightful news that there were plenty of campsites available for Thursday night only, as the park would be full for the holiday weekend. We quickly packed our supplies (imagine this, we already had almost EVERYTHING we needed for lunch, dinner and breakfast either in the pantry or freezer) and our clothes (two changes of clothes per person and swimming suits/trunks--check!) and pulled the trailer out of it's non-camping parking space and hit the road, Jack ('cept we'd be back soon).
It took only 25 minutes to arrive deep in the cool woods and find the perfect spot under a canopy of evergreens. We set up camp (i.e. unloaded the bikes, b-b-q and put the chairs around the fire pit), roasted a few hot dogs, the kids explored with their walkie talkies and then we headed down tothe lake for a pre-dinner swim and frolic in the enormous sand compound that had been left behind by (I hope) the kids that came before us. We had the entire beach to ourselves (well, if you don't count the ducks). We headed back to camp without running into any cougars or bears (which were posted as having been spotted recently in the park) and prepared our dinner. We listened to oldies on one of the radio stations we could get clearly and stoked the fire with some of the wood from the 3 bundles the ranger had delivered earlier in the day.
We were joined by our good friends for a gourmet dessert of roasted marshmallows (forgot the chocolate *gasp* and graham crackers for s'mores) and hot cocoa for those willing to partake of the wintry libation on this cool summer eve. After the kids were good and tired, we tucked them in with a Snow White video (I know, the boys are dying that I am sharing this) and headed back outside to the fire for a few more minutes.
I couldn't believe how dark it was out there, not a streetlight in sight and unless you walked out from under the thick leaves, hanging on to the branches of the mammoth trees as if saying "no, fall, you can't come and take us away" to see the stars (which were huge and numerous as they always are out in the country) you couldn't see a thing.
And so, tucked in to my own bed, I return to that sound, the sound I heard after I had read a hundred pages of my book and all of my family was well ahead of me in their sleep cycles. Sure, there is an occasional noise made by a little woodland creature outside my open trailer window (at least it looked little judging from the tiny footprints decorating my windshield the next day), and I even got up a few times to flick on the outside light, hoping to catch a stealthy bear nosing around our cooler, but other than that, complete quietness.
I can hear the rythmic ins and outs of my husband's breathing (and he's not snoring!).
I can hear the gentle movements of the boys as they dream and I can see Katie's sweet sleeping face next to me.
And other than that,