When I was in second grade, I did something that would impact the rest of my life. I joined the Girl Scouts. What followed were years of day camps, troop camps, primitive camps, and wildlife camps. I went to camp every summer of my life. My last years of high school were spent at camp learning to be a camp counselor. At age 19, I had the amazing job of being a horse wrangler at the now defunct Girl Scout National Center West in Ten Sleep, Wyoming. We, as strong young women, prided ourselves on sleeping out under the stars every night on our horse packing trips into the Big Horn Mountains. We disdained our tents except for the one night it rained and rained and rained and rained! We did stay in tents when in main camp… and the smell of canvas and pine trees is a combination that breaks my heart… I am no longer involved in Girl Scouts.
But it gave me an appreciation for sleeping outdoors which continues to this day. Thankfully I have a husband that knows I am not rejecting him… but I need this for my soul. I have taken my children up the hillside to watch the Perseid meteor shower every August of their young lives. Rarely will one accompany me now, preferring a soft bed to a cot or lawn recliner…
I have migrated to a 14′ tipi…with blowup air mattress and buffalo robe! I can start a little fire if it’s chilly, or huddle under my buffalo robe. It is located about 75 yards from my house through some trees…and it is easy to believe I am all alone. OK, that’s an exaggeration! I forgot, I have 3 English Shepherds! Lucas, Elsa, and Dally take it upon themselves to be my guardians. Lucas sleeps outside the tipi, but as close to my head as he can get. I hear him breathing. I hear him scratching. I hear him sigh. And at least twice a night, he runs off unseen threats to me with his bass voice that vibrates the tipi walls. Elsa is the silent ninja… I can’t hear her, but she is there, her high pitched bark backing up Lucas when he takes off. Dally is the only one who starts off the night inside the tipi with me. She minds her manners, except for one thing… I have found Dally to be a sweetgrass thief. I have had two braids out in my tipi, and both have disappeared. Sweetgrass must taste as good as it smells! In that I can’t blame her, sweetgrass is a favorite scent of mine, but she needs to share! Dally is the only one that can find her way, for the most part, in the doorway between the tipi and liner. Sometimes she gets lost and winds up between my tipi and liner…but like Lucas, gets as close to me as she can, and sleeps until her daddy chooses to scare off some “booger”. I woke up the other morning, walked to the back of my tipi and there was Lucas and Elsa laying in the shade on guard. Dally was lost between the liner and tipi and only her legs were visible out from under the tipi. I called her name, woke her up, and she shoved her pretty little head out from under, astonished that I was now OUTSIDE the tipi. She wriggled her way out and happily gave me a good morning greeting.
Soon I’ll take my buffalo robe and move to the trampoline, and watch the Perseids until I fall asleep. I’ll have 3 dogs sleeping underneath me…and a blanket of stars above. “Tuck a cloud up under my chin, Lord, blow the moon out, please.”