Man – and woman – in the state of nature is not a pretty sight. Obsessed with feeding and drinking, scavenging for firewood, alternately soaked then sweating. Feral children career about, bumping and thumping each other. Sleep snatched fitfully as the elements do their worst. Not much contemplation here.
What, I ask myself, is the purpose of camping? I may never know. Csikszentmihalyi might posit a ‘rude’ form of ‘flow’. But I’m pretty sure Aristotle wouldn’t have rated it. Certainly not in England’s all too green, and, for much of this weekend, not very pleasant lands. Apparently there was a moment where the entire land surface of Great Britain was simultaneously being rained on. Certainly we were.
I found myself short of temper and shorter of humour. Only Dionysius with his warming grapes and a crackling campfire lifted my spirits. An extra thick sleeping bag and two angelic faces snoring next to me helped too. The family unit held together.
The high point was packing the tent. Both for the manly ‘flow’ I achieved as I dismantled, folded and rolled it and the several nods of recognition for getting it into its bag in one go. More though for what it signified – going home to civilisation.