Through my open window comes the sound of a not too distant train, close enough I can hear its rumble as well as its horns, the first in a steady series of trains that will pass through the day. Nearer still is the main road with its almost constant stream of traffic even on weekends. From the firehouse up the street a fire truck seems to always be coming or going, wailing sirens and blaring horns. Phones, televisions, the hum of the refrigerator, the constant drone of the computer…I sometimes think I can feel on my skin a slick coat of muck from the electricity and constant waves of communication in the air, like invisible pollutants. All this noise and busyness and I distain hustle, bustle is for the birds.
Very regularly, I feel the need to get back to the woods, to simplify, to get away from the constant whir of to do’s. Oftentimes one of the rides you’ve read about here suits that purpose, but other times I actually must go for the night, out away from people, back to nature. Load up Josh, my dog and my tent, and disappear. Annually, for my birthday, we do so.
Due to storms throughout most of the day, we axed this year’s plan to drive a couple of hours from home, but about twenty minutes to our northeast there is a beautiful lake and surrounding camping grounds and we opted to take full advantage.
In the woods, everything is simplified. There is no list of pseudo-imperatives, there are no pressing deadlines. It simply is. As soon as we arrived, I took my camera and disappeared on the hiking trails for an hour or so, alone with the trees and my thoughts. Sunset came down all pale salmon pink and lavender night reflected on the lake and the rocky shoreline amplified the rhythmic slap of the waves. I sat studying the tiny details of the mimosa blooms and the willows along the bank waving gently, the astounding grace of those trees, I’ve loved them since I was a little girl and they sent me into meditative clear pools of memory.
The day’s storms left a heavy dampness in the air, cooled by the lake, scented by the mimosa, honeysuckle, and earth. Once the fire was built and tent set up, we sat by the fire while E bounced excitedly about, thrilled by campfire food, helping daddy with tent building, sleeping in the woods, getting to stay up late and tell “ghost” stories, and all the other excitement that comes with a child’s first camping trip. Tired from so much excitement, she fell asleep fairly early, but we stayed up talking quietly just above the sound of the fire crackle and the lantern’s hiss, best friends and quality time. The night sounds grew to a louder crescendo around us, a rabbit slipped by here and there, coyotes sounded off their ruckus peals in the distant dark, and I thought back to being a kid myself, when we camped on the creek bed, to life in the Ozarks, to how simple life really is when you shuck away the self-important hustle and bustle. Those thoughts stayed with me as we lay down for the night, in the calm quiet, staring at the shadowy patterns of arched trees above the tent. Such serenity, and with our house in the city not twenty minutes away. We’ve decided that little oasis at Arcadia Lake is a new must for a regular get away.
By far the best sleep I’ve had in ages, I awoke with the morning’s first sun rays, fresh, renewed, and ready to take on the world. Or at least make a sausage and egg breakfast. (Camp breakfast is one the very best things, to my way of thinking, about camping.) We spent the morning playing by the lake, collecting feathers and shells and wildflowers and I decided right then that although there was nothing in depth I wanted to say about our trip, Arcadia Lake is simply a perfect overnight spot for the Route 66 traveler.
Arcadia Lake is located in Edmond, OK. A manmade lake, it serves as flood control for the Deep Fork River Basin and water supply for Edmond. Surrounded by heavy woods and with limited camping spaces, it is an excellent get away in spite of its proximity to more urban areas. Read more about Arcadia Lake here.