And to think, I almost missed that moment.
It was my husband's semi-annual Beginners Backpacking Trip, an event designed to give those who've never backpacked the chance to learn more about it. While I frequently come along for these outings, I almost sat this one out. I'm too tired. It'll be too cold. I just want to relax at home.
A check of the weather forecast on Friday night predicted mild temperatures and a slight chance of rain early on Sunday. Still mulling my final decision, I began (somewhat begrudgingly) to drag out my gear and clothing. In the end, I packed my bag and hit the road with my beloved on Saturday morning to meet up with our fellow hikers.
At the trailhead, we eagerly set out on our journey, hiking past creeks, over suspension bridges and through colorful fall foliage before arriving at camp. After pitching our tents, gathering firewood and collecting water, the four of us sat talking as the evening light began to fade. I kept an eye on the horizon, waiting patiently for the sun to sink just low enough before I started a fire.
At last the time seemed right, so I retrieved one of Michael's handy homemade firestarters and got to work, carefully arranging small sticks and twigs of kindling. Shortly, the fire was blazing, the sky was growing dark and the stars were coming out. It was a beautiful night.
We made dinner and treated ourselves to hot tea and cocoa. After dinner, we sat chatting and laughing by the campfire until at last we decided it was time to turn in. We set about cleaning up, tamping down the fire and putting away the food before making a final visit to the nearby facilities. (Yes, that means outhouse.) As we returned to camp and prepared to douse the fire, we heard a sound and stopped to turn an ear.
"Is that rain?" asked one of our companions.
We realized it was and laughed as we said goodnight and made a mad dash for the tents.
Minutes later, snuggled and settled in our sleeping bags, Michael and I lay there listening to the raindrops pattering against our tent. It was like nature's music, a little lullaby to send us off to dreamland.
As I lay there listening to the rain before I drifted off to sleep, I was grateful that I didn't miss this opportunity.
Grateful that ...
I saw stars.
And heard rain.