I understand that rain is a necessary part of life. If it doesn’t rain, plants won’t grow and we won’t have water to drink, yada yada yada. I get it, but I don’t like it. Rain means I can’t ride my bike. Can’t go climbing. Can’t go paddleboarding…When it rains, I basically stand on my back porch in my robe, sipping coffee slowly and cussing under my breath. So as the tropical storm made its way up to the Southern Appalachians this past weekend, I figured my plans to take the family camping were gonna be scrapped. The last thing I wanted to do was camp in the rain with my kids. I envisioned all of us huddled in the tent as the monsoon bore down, my kids getting on each other’s nerves and asking why I didn’t bring the iPad.
But my wife was more optimistic. “Maybe it won’t rain.”
I showed her the forecast, which looked like a toddler spilled red and green paint all over the greater Asheville area.
“Let’s give it a shot. Maybe it won’t be so bad.”
I typically do what my wife tells me, so we went camping. In the rain. And damn it if she wasn’t right. It wasn’t so bad. It was actually fun. There were spotty showers throughout the day, but we were under thick tree cover, so we didn’t really notice as we were setting up camp and cooking dinner. We had a campfire. I impressed my kids with my culinary prowess by whipping up fancy teriyaki steak rice bowls for dinner. And as darkness set in while we were finishing our S’mores, we were suddenly surrounded by Blue Ghost fireflies. First, it was a single tiny blue light hovering just above the forest floor, but then it was four, six, a dozen of them all around us.
Blue ghosts are cool for a couple of reasons. First, they’re blue. Forget the yellow fireflies you grew up with. These babies are a cool shade of aqua. Second, they stay lit for a solid minute at a time, so you can track them as they meander through the forest. It’s like fairies from a Disney movie come to life. It was the first time I’d ever seen these fireflies, and my kids were blown away by the spectacle.
It poured after we went to bed, and it continued to rain throughout the next morning. I don’t have to tell you that packing up camp in the rain sucks (my tent is still airing out in the garage). But S’mores. Teriyaki bowls. A campfire. Fairies in the woods. None of that would’ve happened if I stayed at home, cursing and drinking coffee on my porch.