We had a favorite place. We found it on accident the first time Dad dropped us off at the train tracks for the night. We walked down the tracks a few miles then straight west once we crossed the bridge. It was a pond, about 3 or 4 acres at best. With 12′ of line and a hook, and worms we dug out of cow patties we could have fun for hours.
But this wasn’t the favorite place. Our favorite place was the farmland to the east of the tracks. The ground was better for sleeping bags and campfires. We introduced ourselves to the farmer a few weeks after first discovering the pond across the tracks. We asked if we could continue to use his land to camp and were grateful he agreed. Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman became like grandparents to us and to this day we still keep up with them.
The Zimmerman’s farm was a school for things you could only learn there. There I learned what it was like to not eat for 2 days, then to appreciate a little frog leg cooked on a stick. I learned what it felt like to lay awake all night because you were shivering, and the coldest part of the day is just before dawn. I learned what it felt like when you dropped the electric fence gate in the rain and had to man up and hook it back together. I learned how to appreciate the stars, the sounds of crickets and bullfrogs, a friend, and the warmth and smell of a campfire. We went out there simply to live life, and that was enough.
Tara and I camp each night on the Maier farm. This farm is a school for things we can only learn here. Here I am learning how to appreciate a hand to hold in the middle of the night. We are learning what it takes to depend on each other and God for strength. We are learning how to appreciate the stars and the sound of road noise. We are learning to accept love from others and simply say “thank you.” We are here simply to live life and that is enough.