The majority of my friends are all on vacation together right now, camping in Pennsylvania. This is a regular summer ritual that I am missing out on this year. They are there sitting outside their pavilions getting ready for wine-thirty and afternoon noshing. Or taking an afternoon shower to take off the sweat of the day and cracking open that first cold beer. It's that lovely time in the afternoon for lounging, napping, or casual shopping. Maybe setting out to visit friends in another camp and contemplating dinner plans. It is hours before the parties start, and there is plenty of time to just chill in the shade. It will still be hot, but beginning to cool slightly and hopefully an afternoon breeze. I miss it... and I know exactly what I'm missing. I can clearly hear the flapping of Atenveldt's multitude of banners; I can feel the thin film of sweat on my neck; I can smell the incense blowing from someone's tent; I can taste the crispness of a cold white wine; I can close my eyes and see the way the sun lights the inside of my eyelids orange.
The hard thing is that I feel almost good enough to be there. Logically I know that my white blood cell count is too low to take a chance of camping, especially with some nights expected in the low 60's. And I'm certainly not physically up for the miles of walking every day, much less the expansive debauchery of the evening hours. I would be the one heading to bed at o'dark thirty and napping through the best parts of the days. But my mind is absolutely up for the trip. This will be the first summer in 15 years that I haven't done some camping. If my backyard was bigger (and not backed up to a major intersection), I swear I would put the pavilion up and camp out for a night or two. Of course it wouldn't be nearly as much fun without all my friends around.
So I'm being lame and tracking pictures and updates on Facebook. Hoping that everyone is having a terrific time and not melting into sweat pools. I'll have a fine time this weekend and take advantage of some of the great things that are always happening in Kalamazoo. There's the art fair at Bell's brewery tomorrow, an afternoon concert at the nature center on Sunday, the pool hall and ice cream stands are open, there's live music downtown every weekend, and the farmer's market will be bustling in the morning. All in all though, I'd rather be sweating with my friends under a shade fly. You guys better be having a great time, and make sure to raise a glass for me.