What else do you do when you’re smack dab in the middle of your summer and you need a break from the usual? I booked a night in a mini cabin at Tuckahoe State Park, a local campground 15 minutes west. We play at the playground there and walk one trail regularly but have never stayed overnight. It may have been 90 degrees out but the cabin has beds and an air conditioner inside. Plus a broom and spiders.

My boys and I set off for our adventure after a non rushed morning and pack up. First, we filled our bellies at the local diner in Ridgely, befriending our British waitress, and then shopped for our camping supplies at the quaint grocery store next door. The old wooden floors and selective merchandise makes you feel like you’re in a thirties movie set. Some patrons were there for booze and others younger ones for ice cream. We made off with wieners and beans and onion dip in a can.

Daddy took a nap after we’d unpacked and my son and I went for a walk to the playground. We lost the first Frisbee in poison ivy. Although I fished it out with a stick, it’s still under the truck seat in need of a soapy bath. The second we didn’t throw until we were under the trees since it was too hot on the playground and feild. Kid turns out to be a pretty good Frisbee thrower if he doesn’t over think it. We discovered mushrooms that puffed ocre smoke when you popped them. Loads of fun that.

We were watched by a dragonfly and by a frog that, when we scared him and his buddies, jumped in a sunny puddle which would be a stream if there weren’t a draught. We then went to the lake’s damn to do a little fishing…in the hot sun. The husband stuck it out and, rethinking his strategy from bobber to jig, caught a little hungry spot. The trout will be ours next time. When it’s cooler out.

And in the evening, after a nice park ranger helped me load my four dollars worth of wood into the truck, I made a fire. We ate out beans and dogs, made smores, and drank our alcoholic beverages from Solo cups, as they are not permitted in Maryland State Parks. Unless you’re in your RV or a maxi cabin. And when we’d cleaned up, we headed to the bath house for a hose down. There we were met by a clan of frogs praying to the Coke machine god. Decisions, decisions the words read.

When I walked in the woods at night on my way back again from the campground bathhouse, I listened to the buzzing and chippering and whirring and forgot my own mind. I saw the brilliant stars through the canopy of the woods. And in that moment I was more me and at peace and felt as one with the greater picture than at any other time I can remember of recent past. And that is why we must return to the forest or ocean or wherever we are touched; to remember our humanity and our humility and to be OK with both for that moment.

As a family we played crazy eights until way too late in the evening. And slept uncomfortably until the dark morning when I really had to go back to the bathhouse. Slept more and had yummy French press coffee and biscuits and cherries. And then off we went, listening to the last CD of the Hobbit on the way, to catch breakfast at out favorite spot, Jimmies, in Bridgeville, Delaware. I give the whole endeavor huge thumbs up for being present with my family and myself for 24 hours, doing something completely different, and for only having to cook the beans and dogs.

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