Just when we were getting settled into our evening routine an unusual shape caught our eye. Amazed by its presence we realized there was a tiger that decided to join us. Startled and excited we sat and watched and wondered how could we be so lucky to be in the presence of such a creature.
Each camping event has its own experiences and tales to share. This outing, to Holland State Park, was no exception. Joined with me on this trip were my trusted, well-seasoned daughter and my college roommate and her son who had only camped a couple times prior to this outing.
The tiger, which was a small fury plastic toy, was left behind by a previous camper and found by my crew as we readied our site for the evening.
The tiger perched upon the ledge of our campfire became our watchdog and more importantly our camping talisman. The tiger brought magic to the evening as only tigers can do. Laughter, bonding, sharing of stories of years past, followed by a lifting of spirits. Then a sigh, a sense of peace and the thought that life could not get any better than this moment.
Camping and being in the outdoors is an amazing and rewarding activity giving participants the opportunity to connect with themselves and with others in a way that cannot be achieved in everyday life. But to find a tiger, to remind us of this moment and bringing magic to our evening, well that is very special.
A talisman is an object that is supposed to possess special powers or even a charm that can exercise powerful influence on the human spirit. The tiger had magic powers. The tiger had become our talisman. Was it the talisman that brought magic to our time together? Or was it being outside and unplugged that made it so special, giving us the opportunity to connect with one another? Or perhaps it was a little of both.
My college roommate, as I found out, is a natural at camping. With her golden tan and athletic build, just shy a day of her 48th birthday, you would have thought this woman had been and outdoorsman all her life. What a birthday gift to discover a new passion. My roommate exclaimed with exuberance that camping had not seen the last of her and that she was going to get out and camp more with her family and with me.
As we parted, my roommate picked up the tiger and packed it in her tent bag. “I am taking this with me”, she said “and we are doing this again next year!” With a smile I said, “Of course, as long as the Tiger comes too”.
On my backpacking trip in the backcountry of Isle Royal National Park, in the middle of Lake Superior, I found dimes, feathers and an infinity bracelet that became my talisman, my magic and my reminder to an unforgettable trip I took with my daughter. As I wear the bracelet around my wrist it became a reminder not only of what I experienced while I journeyed five quiet days in the wilderness, it too became a reminder of something bigger than myself watching over me and leading me forward along my journey.
How about you…do you have a talisman that brings magic and a reminder to your time in the outdoors?