Campfire Tales Presents: Presence

I recently read three completely random non-fiction books* in a row (okay, I cheated a little, because two were audiobooks). Each contained a chapter devoted to the seeming disconnectedness in today’s culture and impact on our daily lives due to technology (specifically: our mobile devices).

My first reaction (wisely, understandably) meant a quick switch to a young adult fiction series about young ladies being covertly trained as assassins in a vampire and werewolf filled 1850’s steampunk England (Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series). Please don’t spoil, as I’m still on the fourth and final book in the series, Manners & Mutiny.

Later, in celebration of Campfire Tales’ birthday, I started thinking about why we are here. I had originally hoped there would be more discourse — not just my stories, but all of us sharing.

To me, camping is the solution to this topic referred to by everything on my reading list:

Though social media is a wonderful tool with many redeeming qualities, it is also a perfect breeding ground for this ability to be “connected” without really being connected in the truest sense. We can craft our images carefully and interact with the carefully crafted images of others, but oftentimes the depths of knowing others and being known are impossible to reach via these online transactions. And even though many of us are addicted to our devices, people are starving for the depth that comes from real, in-person relationships.
~ Dustin Willis & Brandon Clements, The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life

Sharing a tent, choosing to cook together, eat together, clean up together, circling a fire for warmth and entertainment, and all the other elements of camping, leads to creating stories and telling stories, and that ultimately means becoming more “connected.”

That said, not everyone wants to share stories (let alone go camping), so having accepted that, I sought a new answer for Campfire Tales’ presence.

A few years back, a group of my friends from all over California arranged a camping trip at Redwood Campground in the Sierra National Forest.

Sequoia NF_Redwood Campground_Sign

I distinctly remember driving there. The monotonous, flat fields of California’s central valley gave way to foothills and oak trees and tarantulas crossing the road (yikes!) and then the trees and redwoods in the mountains. I rolled down my window and breathed deeply of the pine-scented morning air as I wound around curve after curve of zero traffic, and the fresh air and freedom from work and beauty and solitude filled me with such joy.

That joy is what I hope Campfire Tales brings you. If not joy, then at least a momentary respite from the worries and burdens and hassles of your daily life and our increasingly crazy world. This isn’t a political blog or a sales pitch or an obligation. There’s no pressure.

Campfire Tales is a place to stop and take a deep breath.

I reached the campground hours before any of my friends. In fact, that late in the season, I spent most of the day completely alone in the campground. I relaxed and read and drank beer and hiked (not at the same time – promise!) and took pictures of trees:

Yet I wasn’t alone. An extremely hyper squirrel kept running up and down a tree, until finally he stopped and posed for this picture:

Sequoia NF_Redwood Campground_Squirrel!

So there you have it. Maybe it’s only me and the squirrel here, but please join us as often as you like.

(*Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler; Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, by David Sedaris; and the book quoted above, Dustin Willis & Brandon Clements, The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life)

3 thoughts on “Campfire Tales Presents: Presence

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