“We’re here!” My dad said.
It was the second week of summer before school of 2014. My family decided to go on our first camping holiday to Little Rock. With numb legs, we all clumsily and tiredly got out of our car after being stuffed in there for the entire road trip. The clouds above us were randomly placed like freckles on the clear blue sky. Little did I know, there would be mosquitoes and bugs crawling everywhere and taking a nip at you whenever they pleased. The tent was just barely big enough for four people, I couldn’t take 3 steps without bumping into someone. Nevertheless, we all -finally- settled in and went to sleep.
I proceeded to get ready and eat breakfast so that we could go fishing in the afternoon. We all grabbed a fishing rod and a box of slimy worms before heading over to the river, located half a mile south of our tent. An hour into our arrival, I realized -after many frustrating attempts- that I do not know how to fish. I cast my line out again and I waited and waited and waited until I became impatient and annoyed. My dad came over to me and told me to always be patient and that the most important thing is having fun with my family.
We then returned to the tent, with empty hands but smiling faces. By now, it was night time, so we went to sleep. As the wind picked up, clouds blanketed the darkening -charcoal colored- sky. The trickle of rain that was once there disappeared, replaced with pouring showers. Raindrops bombarded the damp soil like bullets on a battlefield.
Lightning split the sky in two and the unmistakable -deafening- sound of thunder followed it. KABOOM! Now not only was the tent shaking…but so was I.
I forced my stiff legs to carry me to the opening of the tent in order to see the violent beast I was dealing with. Instantaneously, another earth-shattering crack of thunder sounded, urging me to crawl back to my sleeping bag and the illusion of safety it carried with it. With every blinding flash of light and crack of thunder, the storm only seemed to intensify. I prayed and prayed, willing it just to be a nightmare. I then remembered the advice my dad gave me only earlier; I have to be patient.
I calmed myself down and patiently waited for the storm to die down, forcing myself to ignore the constant brightening of the tent and the sounds that followed it. KABOOM!I shot up in the bed in the cramped humid tent, as the sun streamed through the lined cotton fabric of our tent. Sweat dripped down my back, it was as if I had slept in a puddle of water. I looked around the tent while wiping the sleep from my eyes to find that my brother was sleeping like a dead man and that my dad was rumbling like a mountain. I was totally baffled as to what had happened, so I -carefully- maneuvered myself around my sleeping family to exit the tent. I bent down and swiped my finger across the soil that lacked the soggy wet texture of damp soil after a storm. I took a deep breath and smelled nothing but the aroma of the forest. Apart from the occasional shuffle of my footsteps, all I could hear were the rustling of leaves and birds chirping.
“It was just a…dream?” I thought to myself while rubbing my eyes to make sure I was not hallucinating. “But it had felt so real,” I said.”Dena… who are you talking to?” Asked my dad, looking around to find the person who would be the receiving end of my conversation.
Not realizing that I had spoken out loud or that the sounds of my dad’s snoring had stopped, I told him: “No one… I was just talking to myself”. He studied me for another moment before pulling out a griddle and started making breakfast. I joined him and helped him to scramble some eggs and cook the sausages we had brought along with us. We took a hike around the forest before sitting around the warmth of the campfire together as a family.
We made jokes and told stories around the fire and laughed as my brother told us all the – foolish- things he had done in school. The smell of burnt marshmallows lingered in the air long after we finished. The next night was our last, so we decided to end the trip off with a relaxing night. While the night was at its blackest, we laid under the stars in silence and just watched them. The moon was shaped like a croissant while the stars glistened in the sky covering every inch of the blackened sky.
Whilst laying under the stars, I thought about my dream and all the things that had happened in the eventful camping trip; I realized that although there were some downs we had a great 4 days of family bonding time, adventure, and new experiences that taught me that patience is key. The next morning, we got up at 7 a.m. to begin packing and loading everything into the car in order to go home.
I got in the car and was waiting for my dad to start the car when I looked out the window and – to my horror- noticed a hazy sky. It was at that moment that I -almost- regretted coming to the camping trip altogether, because there was a…
“A THUNDERSTORM! DRIVEEE” I screamed with every ounce of air I had.