Sunday, March 1, 2015

Packing Light


As some of you know I have been reading Ray Jardine's Beyond Backpacking and it is pretty phenomenal.  I'm getting to the point in my planning where final decisions need to be made and my vision for my life on trail must come together.  At least in material.  So far, the most intriguing and inspiring change that I've been reading about is using a tarp instead of a tent.  I've always been a huge tent person, adamantly against the idea of being even MORE exposed in the dark of night than I already am.  BUT, suddenly this seems like a great idea.  If there is one thing Warren introduced me too from the start, in a good way, is pushing your boundaries of comfort.

I will never forget my first year at Camp as a 7/8 year old cubby, who I can openly admit was definitely spoiled and accustomed to the finer comforts of life.  The memory that sticks out to me and I think of every time I intentionally take a cold shower or have no hot water available, is on the last day when my extremely patient and amazing counselor, Charlie, insisted I shower in the Homaji basement, which were the only showers at the time for us.  I can only imagine what that meant about my hygiene levels because I definitely avoided showers.  It was right before parents were coming to pick us up, so, you know how it goes, we HAD to be clean.  The water would not warm up to a temperature I deemed hospitable and I threw a fit about it.  Also, have you seen the old Homaji basement.  Creepy place.  Not like it is now, beautiful.  Anyway, After a time Charlie's perseverance paid off and I showered.  I probably cried the whole time or something.  I think I cried a lot as a young camper.  Sorry and thank you amazing counselors of Warren!!!

So the point of that little trip down memory lane is that that was the first memory I have of a lesson that has become invaluable to me.  I took my first steps in learning that discomfort is not something to fight but something to accept.  Discomfort is part of the world, both in nature and in city life.  If you fight discomfort your entire life you'll be that crying cubby who smells bad and makes a well-intentioned counselor's day that much harder (think figuratively).  Accepting discomfort is an art and a practice in patience and perspective.  I've had SO many more lessons about accepting discomfort and learning about the happiness and peace that comes from that acceptance.  Like accepting the bugs at the Archery range allows you to rock the bow and arrow.  Or accepting the discomfort of standing on top of the Pamper Pole allows you the feeling of victory as you smack that buoy.  I can't say I ever accepted the cold of Half Moon Lake, opting out of the swim test every year or intentionally failing so I could get out more quickly, until I became a counselor.  I had to encourage those kids to accept discomfort and pass the swim test for their own future enjoyment and accomplishment.  Only then did I ever finish a swim test.


Bringing this all back:  I want to sleep under a tarp.  I want to scare myself a little bit so that I can grow a little bit more and accept that exposure in order to connect more deeply with the earth.  I want to step away from my world of constant comfort and find comfort in lack.  So, I'm going to try that out!  I think it might change my life for the better.

Anyone here have experience with tarp camping?

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