Into the Wild…


In an eleventh-hour decision this past Saturday morning, I suggested to my husband that we do a Creepy Campout for the theme of our Halloween yard haunt this year. Yes, normally we have these planned far, far in advance, but this year’s plan sort of fell through, and we were at loose ends while getting ready to put up the fence that gives our graveyard a nice, old cemetery feel while keeping the kiddos away from trip hazards like electrical cords and various prop…uh…stuff. He agreed, and we spent a good chunk of the weekend putting up a graveyard in one half of the yard, and building a makeshift tent and fire pit on the other side.


We’ll flesh out these “bones” (puns totally intended) a little bit next weekend, and then a lot more during the day on Friday before all the kiddies start showing up for candy. It’ll be fun – our displays always get a lot of compliments, and this year with Halloween being on a Friday night, we’ll have a good hundred kids or so.


The camping idea popped into my head after a blog post I wrote for my main blog last week. I was reminiscing about the hiking and camping we used to do when I was a kid, here in the wilds of Montana. It’s a big state with a lot of wide open spaces and beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes – perfect for getting out of the city and back to nature, as it were (something I haven’t personally done in far too long).


I’ve used mountain settings for quite a bit of my writings, and while generally bad things happen to the people in my books who venture out of the city, I’m actually not scared of the wilderness at all. Quite the opposite. I’m respectful of the native inhabitants, of course, but I’m perfectly comfortable out in the woods. I love walking among the trees, listening to the wind rattle through the leaves and water rushing from a nearby stream or river. I like that earthy smell of the forest floor mingling with fallen pine needles and bits of moss here and there. A vast meadow filled with tall grasses and wildflowers, big boulders sitting in the sun just begging for someone to lay out and warm up on them (you may have to work out a time-share schedule with the local rattlesnake population), that unexpected waterfall just around the next steep curve in a natural deer trail…


It’s a beautiful place, rough & tumble though it can be at times. There’s plenty of danger lurking as well – predators big and small, unseen cliffs just over that next rise, plants that make you itch for weeks or kill you with their fruit, and plenty of creepy-crawly things…including the human kind. It’s a great place to get lost in, to play in, to bury bodies where no one will find them – ever (not that I’d know from personal experience, of course). Not to mention the caves, bear dens and old mine shafts for hiding and losing people in. Although any deep, narrow coulee would work just as well.


You see how my brain works a little there? Occupational writer hazard – I’m always thinking about how something – anything – could go south, kill people, and how to dispose of the bodies. At least I’m thorough, and clean up my hypothetical messes…


When was the last time you were in the wild somewhere – either physically, or reading/watching something? How did it make you feel? Are you a city-slicker, a nature-child, or somewhere in between?

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