There are a lot of campfires in my memories. Family camping, Girl Scouts, college... and with the memories of all those fires come memories of all the people singing happy songs with pleasant melodies and guitars strumming...
It seems like life was more musical back then. Songs were written that were meant to be sung, not only by the musician, but also by the audience, war protesters, lovers, and churches. Songs expressed our emotions and had something to say about what we were feeling. There was something about sharing the flickering light of a campfire that made us a group and less shy about singing with our friends.
I wonder if the best campfires of my life are in the past? We get to where we start thinking that sitting on the ground seems impractical or painful and bring lawn chairs, or let's just put the fire in the fireplace. Or for that matter, collecting friends for a bonfire seems harder when they're shuttling kinds to soccer or working late or whatever.
I've gone "wimpy girl camping" with friends in later years. That means we get a cabin with plumbing and a kitchen. Even those commodities are insufficient for some of them and we stopped doing even this, but I'm due for another trip like that. The last time we went, we had a long covered porch. One night we rocked in rocking chairs and watched a heavy rain fall through the forest. There's a peacefulness in that I don't know how to find at my house or in my regular life.
What we do with our lives is up to us. If you decide you're too old to have fun, then you are. If you want to have new experiences, then do it. For people who are young and aren't collecting memories, get outside! Have a bonfire and sing with your friends. Just put the fire out when you're done. If you don't have friends that will join you at a campfire, get some more friends.
The whole point of living is to have a life. When I was in my 20s, I planned a trip with a friend who bailed at the last moment. I told my grandma I was thinking I should save my minimal money and be responsible. She shocked me by saying that I should go on the trip and spend everything I had. "That way you'll have memories to look back on when you're old like me." Ranks in best advice I've ever received, and strange that it came from my very responsible grandmother.
This week my brother and I went hiking. 2.3 miles of steeply up and down in the relatively balmy 35 degrees of Ohio March. That was 2 days ago, and I'm still feeling it, which in my mind is pitiful, especially when I can read about some of you doing mini-marathons and biking and whatever else you're always up to.
This happens every year, and every year it seems a little harder to slough off winter hibernation. I've even had the radical idea that maybe I should do some exercise all year instead of waiting for summer. Maybe going on my brother's forced march is the spark that will lead me to better habits, which lead to new, more, better campfires?