We have this Currier and Ives print in our 1969 Aloha travel trailer. The title of the print is “Camping in the Woods: A Good Time Coming”. I love how these guys are sitting around the fire with dogs underfoot, enjoying the fruits of their hunting trip, yet the guy walking up from the river is looking at them all in disbelief. It is supposed to be a good time, but fish guy doesn’t look happy. Maybe its because this beautiful moment he had all planned out in his mind hasn’t turned out the way he had imagined it.
All through the eternal German winter my husband and I anticipate a summer filled with camping trips and backyard barbeques. I dream of long evenings on my friends’ patios gazing off into our hills at sunset. I dream of the grit in my sleeping bag that is a reminder of another glorious day at the beach. I dream of a quiet back yard where my husband and I can sit in our pajamas, drink our morning coffee, and listen to the birds of the Great Northwest.
Yet as we dream and anticipate, plan and ponder, muse and make to do lists, we forget that “the good time coming” is laced with levels of stress. Whether we come home for a month or two weeks, we never seem to be able cram it all in. We have the best of intentions to see everyone, but our best intentions cannot bend the time space continuum in a way that allows us to see everyone and do everything we have been dreaming about all winter.
At times I don’t want to leave this place we call “home.” And at other times I can’t wait to escape it. Sitting there on the beach watching our kids frolic or sitting there on the back deck sharing a bottle of Vino Verde remind me of all that I have that is wonderful here. My Best Friends Forever give me refuge and solace, a sounding board, deep discussions on love and family, and unlimited doses of laughter. Then there are those quiet moments, where the incessant questions with no answers creep in, where the calendar days seem to rip off in the breeze at a faster and faster rate, leaving me less and less time. I am that man standing there in the path holding on to fish thinking how did this blissful vacation turn into a hell of my own making.
So on my last day here I will try to blot out the stress, try to not think about the packing and moving that awaits me in Germany. I will try to dismiss the frustration I feel of not being able to spend time with all those that we hoped to. I will press into my brain the imprint of the peaceful and joyous moments we had this time round, and blot out the things that didn’t go as planned. I will hold on to my fish that I caught, take a deep breath, smile, walk into my camp and enjoy the feast we are about to prepare before we go back to reality.
The good time comin’ was a good time. But as with all the joys of life, there are always stressful moments. Luckily it is the joyous moments, not the stressful moments, that we cling to. Memory seems to blot out the hard stuff. Our yearly camping trip to the beach will be booked online in November. Our lists of what to do, what to bring/come back with, and who to see will be written and stuck to the fridge. This list will frequently be edited, revised, and revisited. And like always, my husband and I will drink our morning coffee together by candlelight in the dark of morning thinking about next summer and another good time comin’.