Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fall-in-to-Place S24O

shady spot on a gravel road

This weekend was not a target. For the last three weeks, I've just been trying to make it through each day. I couldn't plan ahead for the work that was choking the life out of me, much less for any leisure time. But sometimes things just fall in to place.

just arrived at the campsite

Michael and I happened to be able to get Friday afternoon off. We both had our reasons, but each needed to get outdoors and clear our minds. Since circumstances allowed, and the weather couldn't be better, we pulled together a last minute campout.

barn swallow excavation crew in action

By mid afternoon, we had arrived, oriented ourselves to our surroundings, and set out for a walk. We ambled toward the lake shore to enjoy the sunshine and the cool breeze. We sat on a picnic table and watched a large number of barn swallows. At first their flight seemed chaotic, but we soon noticed a circular pattern. Then the "pile" of barn swallows at the water's edge.

excavation pits

We moved closer to get a better look. Apparently, they swoop down in huge numbers, scoop up moist soil, and use it to build their nests. Judging from the location of the excavated areas, it seemed they were selecting soil with a "just right" moisture content.

barn swallow handiwork

Then we made our way to another point in their circular pattern, and we could see the construction in progress. Their skillful aerobatics is matched by their clever construction.

evening fire

It was an unseasonably cool evening, but ideal for camping. Michael and I were joined for dinner by another friend who had his own reasons for spending a little time in the woods. We discussed lofty topics, tossed sticks in the fire, and challenged one another to more noble living.

pre-breakfast campsite

Our friend had to leave us, so Michael and I continued the discussion. We stared at the fire, warmed our hands, and watched the moon rise. When yawns appeared more frequently in our conversation, we retired to our respective tents.

Compared to my winter outings, the night seemed quite short. I slept better than usual, and the sky was light at 6am. It was morning and delightfully brisk. Just right for coffee.

morning fire

Michael found a few glowing embers from last night's fire, and soon brought them back to life.

boiling water

While Michael tended the fire, I prepared the oatmeal...

coffee is ready

...and the coffee.

toasting poptarts

Then we supplemented our more nutritious breakfast with poptarts, toasted the cowboy way.

baggage shadow

Then we both needed to be somewhere else. So we packed our things and headed out. But we were grateful for such a convenient location for these kinds of S24O getaways, and we anticipated the next opportunity. Then we went our separate ways.

rolling green hills

On a cool refreshing morning in mid May, I pedaled my bicycle with a warmed heart, over gently rolling hills speckled with wildflowers. I realized that sometimes fall-in-to-place events can top those that are carefully planned.


  1. Chris... glad to hear that you got out... nothing soothes the soul like a camp fire and a ride on a spring morning... much deserved... lovely area you live in...

    I have a multi-night... mostly gravel ride on the boil at the moment... so thanks for the inspiration.

    The Grouch

  2. Speaking of fashionable, that camping kit on the AHH is quite dandy!

  3. One day, it would be very educational to read about what your kit has evolved to include and what it has evolved NOT to include...

  4. Wonderful! You must keep your camping gear more or less ready, to be able to roll out with little notice.

  5. This excites me. I have to start doing these. Thanks for the inspiration.