“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
– James Dean
I’m getting a feeling that within the next few months, if not sooner, I’m going to have some standard in place to mark the blog posts of mine that I know for a fact will be uninteresting to the majority of readers. Because trust me, with high school graduation coming up, and college…well, writer me will be busy.
“But you run this blog, you silly teenager,” I hear you muttering. “Surely you can just do away with the boring posts.”
Well, no, I can’t. Not really. I don’t know if any other writers experience this, but there are some things you just have to not only write down, but put out there for people to see. Even if barely anyone reads it, you need to put it out there.
Call me selfish; that’s fine. You won’t be the first or last.
The point is that this, much like my nostalgic blurb back in December, isn’t interesting. I respect you enough to tell you that. If you don’t enjoy reading about a random kid going winter camping with his scout troop, then please: walk, don’t run, to the nearest exit. If you do enjoy reading about such things, then by all means sit back, relax and enjoy.
As I mentioned back in December, my scout troop goes on campouts quite a bit. Once a month, to be exact. This month’s was at a local camp site, from Friday night to this morning (Sunday). Basically this is a summary of what all happened, give or take.
Scene 1: Friday Night. Curtain…open.
I got dropped off with all my heavy gear that was supposed to keep me warm (which, to be fair, it did). After a quarter mile walk down to the camp site, we indulged in several more quarter-mile walks back and forth to haul all of the troop gear and set up our eating area. Luckily that only took until about an hour past sundown.
Okay, so we had to set up our tents in the dark. There are worse problems to have.
Friday night was essentially spent walking around talking, sitting at picnic benches talking, and staying up until 1:40 in the morning talking. That last part was only in my tent, though. You’d be surprised how philosophical I can get at 1 AM. Or, maybe you wouldn’t.
Scene 2: Saturday
Essentially, I can summarize this day with brevity: we built shelters. To sleep in.
A more difficult task than it sounds. One does not simply build a shelter to sleep in when you’re camping in the middle of the woods. First, you have to find a spot. My friend and I, henceforth referred to as the shelter-builders 8000, spent most of the morning doing that. We had just cleared out the spot when lunchtime came.
And then, everything crashed down in one single moment.
Okay, not really. But we did find out that the scout in charge of buying our food—my shelter-building buddy, incidentally—decided that it would be a wise decision to buy whole grain bread to use in cooking our grilled cheese sandwiches.
Well, let me tell you something. There’s only one possible reaction you can have when you’re in the middle of the woods, hungry, and you’ve been informed you’ll be eating grilled cheese on whole grain bread:
Needless to say, we spent a good hour into the afternoon yelling at my friend’s food choice. Then it was on to shelter-building.
This was tedious, but fun. Shelter-building was something I’d been doing for the past five years in scouts, and this was the last time I would get the chance. My friend and I finished at sundown. You can be the judge.
Looks awesome, right? And yes, that is a foil space blanket over the entrance.
Dinner was chicken quesadillas and chicken noodle soup. After that was some card-playing, walking around talking, and just good old hanging out with everyone. Was it cold? Yep. Did we yearn for electricity, for plumbing and heat and a roof? You bet. Was it fun?
And then, sleep. Only not really.
It’s not that our shelter wasn’t well-designed. It held in heat pretty well, actually. But this was my last campout before I turn eighteen, become a legal adult, and thus become banned from ever tenting with my non-adult scout friends again.
Which is awful.
So, my last night tenting with another human being was spent staying up late—not midnight late, but late—talking to my best friend in the troop, the one who helped me build my shelter. Maybe it’s just because I’m a writer, but I consider talking to be one of the most valuable things in the world.
The discussion topics were as generic as they come. High school, girls, driving, girls, writing, and girls were a few of the talking points. It was a bonding experience, talking about random stuff sitting in a Hunger Games-esque shelter. I even forgave him for bringing the whole grain bread.
This sounds boring, I know. Not to get philosophical, but hopefully others feel this way: life isn’t like a story you write, where you get to know each and every character involved. In life, every person is their own main character. And when you read about experiences such as this one, it probably means nothing to you. The fact is, none of my personal experiences will mean much to anyone else. Because no one else has met who I’ve met, seen what I’ve seen, or had friends as incredible as mine.
And that’s exactly why those things are so precious to me.
When you’re younger, you don’t have to worry about ever letting go. But there are no exceptions to the ‘too much of a good thing’ rule, in my opinion, and even fun times can run together if you have too many. So I just try to enjoy the ones I do have.
I’ll close on this note: I’ve always believed that the thing about making memories is that you never know when it’s happening.
This past weekend proved that wrong. There are some moments that are so filled—whether it’s with adventure, humor, love, or all three—that it’s impossible not to be absolutely certain you’ll remember them.
And those are the moments I live for.