Each summer of my childhood and teenage years was spent visiting the forests and National Parks of Washington State. The family had a travel trailer with sleeping arrangements for my parents, my two sisters and two brothers, but not me. I slept in the back of the station wagon.
I was in complete control of my “domain”. If I was tired early, I could go to bed at any time. If I wanted to sit out by the fire after everyone went to bed, I could. No one knew. The campgrounds were truly magical at night. You could hear the nearby rushing river, engorged with water from the melting snow, animals out searching the sites for leftover crumbs from the human visitors. The air is unbelievably fresh and loamy smelling especially in the dead of night. Maybe I should have been afraid, but I was not. A night-time kingdom all to myself.
My first kiss was experienced late one night on a camping trip. Our family often vacationed with friends with kids our age and I became slightly obsessed with a young boy my age from one of the families. His large family had the same sleeping arrangements and he slept in the back of their truck. We met late at night, both nervous, and had that tentative quick, but passionate kiss. That was it. Just a kiss. But, it was magical.