View From A Scout #2
My earliest memories are of camping. Camping, as you may well know, is not really my cuppa. I think it skipped a generation as my oldest child enjoys it just fine. Camping is actually the only memory I have of my parents when they were still married that doesn’t include arguing. My dad loved to travel and he loved not spending a ton of money so, to him, camping made sense. I don’t think he went camping again after he married my stepmom and certainly not after he started having so many health issues but it was a large part of his young adult years.
My memories were of a different campground than the one pictured and we were there because my dad was working for a trophy company at the time and he was bringing the trophies for the BMX style races. I cannot tell you how surprised I am that I haven’t found pictures of that yet and I can’t help but wonder if those are maybe in my mother’s things in my grandmother’s house. Maybe someday I’ll find them. I remember that they were cool and fast and scary but not much else. I was too busy playing with the plastic squirrels in a fabric log.
My dad loved history. He devoured every book he could get on Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin. He loved living out west with its pioneer spirit and history. We spent a lot of time in museums and gardens and going off in search of the history of places. Part of history is examining all we leave behind. In some ways, that’s what I’m doing with these posts, examining the history I didn’t know, didn’t see for myself. I’m learning a lot. I’m learning that I am maybe more like my dad than I knew. Broken places have always interested me too. I like to tell the story and he liked to capture the image of their brokenness. Two ways of finding reason and beauty where there is chaos and ruin.
There is great beauty to be found in the places we’ve left behind. Fading siding, jagged ridges of the glass that clings to its glazing in otherwise empty frames, and places where you can see the fingers of nature as it asserts its claim on the space. There is poetry everywhere. My dad was never one for written poetry, except cowboy poetry, but his poetry was visual. I wish I’d appreciated it sooner. I wish he had too for that matter. He just enjoyed taking pictures of the things that interested him and he was good at it. I don’t have a lot of pictures that my mom took but I’m finding a couple as I go through my dad’s slides. Someone had to take the pictures of the Scout as he maneuvered through the mud and, given the dates on the slides, that job belonged to my mom. Bonus.