(has it really been nearly a month since I last posted?!)
A few weeks ago Kyle and I stole away from Life and spent a glorious weekend in Reno away from our
minions beautiful children and did things like hold hands! and drink before noon! and sleep in past seven! On one of the days I ordered a mojito with lunch (which didn’t consist of chicken fingers I ordered for the sole purpose of sharing. For once.) and Kyle had some of it and rightly declared: “This tastes like Jack Creek. Smells like mint and tastes like alcohol.” And… he was totally right. Ahhhh Jack Creek. My heart.
We just got back from good ol’ JC and no matter how much time we spend up there it never seems like it’s enough. There is nowhere else on earth that smells like Jack Creek. It doesn’t even matter if there are the same bushes and the same flowers and the same dirt and the same everything that makes up Jack Creek’s smell… it still won’t smell just like Jack Creek. I suppose more has to do with that in the emotional sense than in the logical, but it’s true for me. And I know it’s true for so many other people in my family. It’s such a special place to me and I am grateful that I found a man who not only understands how I feel about it, but shares my feelings and wants our girls to grow up knowing that place just as much as I do. He never ever tries to convince me to go somewhere else to camp in June; he knows that’s reserved for My Place. Out of every outdoor possibility in this vast state, he’s never offered up any alternatives because he know I’d kick him in the shins.
The face of JC has changed just as much as the people who go. Parts of our campsite were ravaged by fires and floods a few years ago, completely changing how most of it looks. And what once used to be group of 60+ people has now slowly dwindled down to half a dozen, maybe a handful more, due to deaths and moves and kids who grew up and just never came back.
This year was the first in many that we had more than a dozen people together. I think we counted 16 at one point, which was so great! The laughter echoing from other nearby campsites is part of what makes Jack Creek, Jack Creek. I love that there are still a handful of “mainstays” to keep it all going.
It’s painful sometimes to sit around the campfire or cook dutch oven chicken and not hear my grandpa’s laugh, or to look across the table and not see my aunt Joanie’s arched brow judging me, but pain is part of life, and we can’t just NOT keep on going to the places we love because they have changed. We adapt. We evolve and we bring up the next generation to keep it all going. I used to be one of the kids of camp; now Kyle and I have stepped into the rolls of leaders. We camp in the main camp where my grandparents used to park. It’s a little bizarre to be in “their spot” but also … honoring? I guess? We plan dinners and cook them. We do the dishes and make breakfast and decide our activities for the day. In essence, we’ve become an arm of my own parents who for so many years were (and still are) sort of “camp directors”.
The girls explore and pick flowers and find pretty rocks and get completely filthy in the black dirt because that is what they’re supposed to do. It’s what I did when I was little! I hope as they grow up, and as long as Jack Creek is still open for use, that it becomes just as big a part of their hearts as it is for mine.