Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An at-home camping experience

Husband Walter and I today enjoyed one of our favorite Smoky Mountain camping activities, sitting together in the cool morning temperatures, Walter with his coffee and me with my hot tea. The only thing missing was the campfire, which was a good thing because we were sitting at home on our screened porch.

Temperatures of about 63 degrees and a brisk breeze followed a night and morning of rain.  It was quite a bit milder than the high 70s and low 80s that have been feeling a lot hotter because of high humidity.

I even had to go back inside and get a light jacket. The sun was out later, and the thermometer on our porch read just over 70. By late afternoon it was back down to 63. Right now (8:30 p.m.) it is just under 60 degrees. Ah, it is good while it lasts, maybe a few more days of no furnace or air conditioning running!

Romantic rocks?
In memory of our Smoky Mountain moment, I piled up rocks for a photo shoot. I do love subjects that stay still for my picture snapping. Those pictured above are just a few from my “collection” assembled through years of Skupien travels. 

Other people buy souvenirs; I like rocks. Don’t do anything with them; can’t remember where I picked up most of them; don’t spend any time classifying them--or doing anything at all with them. But I still transport them home with the care other people would give precious gems. Well, maybe not quite that much care.

Walter first established a few hard and fast rock guidelines during an 11-month escape from jobs and “normal” life in the late 70s. By the second month into our travels, maybe in Vermont or some other abnormally tidy New England state, Walter had had it with helping me lug boulders back to the old green Chevy van that was home and transportation for our adventure. His edict: For a rock to join my collection, it had to be small enough for me to carry back to the van . . . by myself.

Not that I always do carry my treasures back. There was that stream in Alaska, for example, that had sparkly rocks. This was not the same trip, by the way. This one was a cruise about two decades later. The rock I wanted was not within easy reach. Guess who waded out into the ice-cold water and brought back exactly the one I decided I simply must have? Not me, although I did have to pass the tote test. Yes, I could carry it.

My patient husband took turns carrying the newest addition to my collection. That was extremely generous considering this particular geological specimen seemed to gain weight while we explored up and down steep roads and paths above Skagway.

I doubt I will ever see anything similar to that rock experience in commercials touting the romance of cruising. But hubby knows me well. For me, a rocky romance was a good thing!


  1. Your husband is very special indeed. He reminds me of my Phil, both very tolerant. What do you do with these rocks? Well, I just watched a woman on Dr. Oz who eats rocks. She likes a certain kind in a particular place and takes them with her in her purse. She uses them like a stress reliever whn she's nervvous. She pulls one out and eats it and it calms her down. She enjoys the chalky texture.

  2. Linda, I love the fact that you don't do anything with your rocks other than to lug and love them.

  3. This was a delightful post. I too am facinated by rocks and every walk I take, unless on the treadmill, has me carrying a treasure home.
    I go for palm sized or smaller after huffing and puffing while lugging a 15 pounder up the long hill home.

  4. Another good reason to get back to the I am mad about them and like to collect them too. What is it in those rocks that speaks to us? Dianne

  5. I love rocks, too! I have an assortment of them lining the edges my flower bed--collected on several of our family vacations! Just last year, I had to bring home "one more" rock from our vacation trip to Helen, Ga. It's now sitting on my front porch!

  6. i like rocks, but only photos of them, i love sticks and roots, but only photos. i take photos of rocks, stumps, sticks, dead tree limbs and collect them that way. my mother loved shells like you like rocks, she had hundreds when she died after a life time of collecting them. you have a wonderful husband. my friend Judy collects sticks, all kinds of sticks, she hangs them on her wall, puts them in vases, makes arrangements, draped one over her birdhouse.

  7. I try to keep my specimens small so they are really stones. My favourite memory was of a stone I had carried for comfort for a really difficult time. When I climbed St Brandon's mountain in Ireland I left the stone at the top under the cross as a kind of prayer.

    Nowadays I tend to pick up bigger stones and bring them back for a tub in the garden.

    Happy collecting.

  8. I'm like you about rocks. I gather them as I travel and then forget where I found them. Many a time I have wondered whether a suitcase full of rocks would pass the security screening at airports, but rocks don't seem to trouble the screeners.

    My first visit to your blog. Enjoyed it!