I closed my eyes as Briz navigated the dirt road with ruts deeper than our entire tire. We stopped at a watering hole for moose, deer, and elk. With no one in sight, we set up camp. Each little one immediately approached nature in their own way. Some made hideouts, bathrooms, and cafes, others explored the sandy bed of the trickling creek. Briz put up the tent and unrolled the sleeping bags while I began dinner and the apple dumplings.
As dusk fell, we walked to a small reservoir almost glasslike in reflecting the mountains. We circled it quietly and were rewarded by the sight of a deer and her fawn. The stars came out, bright and bountiful, filling the sky. After the children fell asleep and the fire receded, I walked away from camp and lay on the dirt road to gaze at the infinite canvas that is creation. Wonder filled my mind, reverence stilled my heart. Some time later, a shadow covered my view and I felt Briz stretch out beside me.
After breakfast, each returned to their nature activities. Briz and ladybug wandered off to explore, Little Mother and Sunshine started imaginary play in the tent. I crept away from camp, guiltily, hoping to capture a bit of silence with the birds and squirels. Ten minutes up a trail, I ran into Briz and bug who were overjoyed to see me and show me their finds. After saving a bark colored caterpillar from ant stings, they returned it to a tree. I saw my chance and broke out into a run. I ran up the trail . . . and up . . . till I finally stopped in a large clearing where the lake of grass swayed in unison. I stopped, drank in the sweet smell and accomplished what was needed.
Alone in the mountains, I become more of my self, as do each of my loved ones. In a watering spot by my clearing, I found a curious dog like track that measured over 3 inches long and didn't meander up the trail like a dog. Upon further research, it appears to belong to a wolf.
We drove home. We are tired and very smelly. My husband's hand lies on my leg. My two oldest vie for my shoulders, and Sunshine sleeps in her seat with taco neck. Night falls. All are asleep now. Briz quietly strums Dan Fogelberg on his guitar. All is as it should be.