Outdoors

Sleeping in tent is opportunity to embrace nature's chatter

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 1, 2018 6:10 am

The glow of the lantern faded ever so slowly until the interior of the tent fell to black.

The chatter from nearby campsites faded just as slowly.

Eventually, the music died down, the partying ceased and the only things interrupting the still of the night were the noises you wanted to hear.

Insects buzzed past the tent, occasionally flying into the netting of the windows. A bullfrog presumably perched near the edge of the nearby lake serenaded everyone with a low growl. Off in the distance, an owl called out.

So it made sense to lie there with your eyes closed, your head resting nicely on a pillow and nothing to distract you.

Sleep eventually came, and you woke well-rested and invigorated for the adventurous day ahead. Before that, you listened with crystal clear clarity to the world talking directly to you.

There was the gentle sound of the breeze swaying limbs and rustling leaves. It blew through your tent, making you shiver ever so slightly and consider climbing inside your sleeping bag instead of simply lying on top of it.

The crackle of burning wood breaking and popping caught your attention, and you knew the neighbors were still awake and presumably enjoying a nightcap.

It wasn't long before you heard the sound of the fire going out and got one last whiff of smoke as it dissipated into the darkness.

That's when you laugh at yourself because you wonder if you've developed superhuman powers because you distinctly hear someone coughing several campsites away and believe you heard a fish flop down on the lake.

Still, you wonder, "What else is out there?"

You don't know. You'll never know. That's part of the beauty of sleeping in a tent, too.

The raccoon that visits your campground in the middle of the night goes undetected, and if you've disposed of your trash and secured your coolers and food properly, that same raccoon leaves unsatisfied, too.

Undoubtedly, there will be other visitors. As long as the tent is zipped closed, nothing will wind up crawling on you or alongside you, but there's always that danger and worry when you sleep among things that go bump in the night.

The freedom and beauty of sleeping under the stars outweighs it.

Take the time to enjoy those moments, too. Before crawling into your tent, find a nice spot where the trees open and the sky is clear. Take a long look into the night sky. The stars have never looked brighter and the moon never more round and robust.

You might see these things sitting in your backyard. You don't see them the same.

All the things associated with camping -- pitching a tent, building a fire, sleeping on the ground -- are viewed by most people as roughing it. Those who embrace the joy of camping see those things as living and living good.

It's how you unplug, unwind and undo all the things that stress you.

There's beauty in nature, but there's more beauty in embracing it.

So turn off the lantern, put out the fire, kill the music and close your eyes. Lie back and listen. You'll never fall asleep to sweeter sounds.

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