Camping with Isaac, Day 1: a post from Seth

“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains.” Walt Whitman

The Ozarks

I have always told Isaac that five-years old is a good camping age – young enough to be captivated by God’s handiwork, old enough to tackle short day hikes.  So this weekend, the weekend of his fifth birth-week, we loaded up the car and made our way to the Buffalo National Park.

We arrived in the Boxley Valley, about a mile below our campsite, sometime around 4:00.  The valley stretches green this time of year, and meanders to a tree line that boarders the western bank of the Buffalo River.  In 1981, our kind brothers in Rocky Mountain territory sent a small herd of Colorado Elk to the Buffalo River area, and the Boxley Valley is where they make their home. The herd grew, and now they, along with cattle and photographers, are in no short supply there.

Seeing a group of shooters-the photographic type-Isaac and I pulled over and made our way to a barbed wire fence that separated private property from public.  One of the photographers kindly pointed Ike in the direction of the resting herd.  Isaac, to the chagrin of all said, “this is what an elk sounds like-Erriee, Erriee, ee, ee, ee.”  The elk turned and looked, but thankfully did not run.  I have heard that photographers can be a violent sort when their subject matter is disturbed.

Thinking it best to mosey on to our campsite, we arrived with a few daylight hours to spare and began setting up camp.  Actually, I began setting up camp as Isaac wondered around the camp site pretending to hunt with a make-shift stick spear.  I think he was hunting for black bears. 

buddiesAfter setting up our camp, our camping mate, Colin, arrived.  He’s a good, out-doorsy guy, and he knew the place for our next-day hike.  Isaac took the opportunity to teach Colin about our campsite, and to inform him that he’d already field-dressed a black bear or two, which thankfully, were imaginary.


We then built the fire, placed individually-sized servings of pig on individually-sized spits, and started cracking cold root beers.  As roasting hot-dog smells drifted upward, we told camping stories, and Jesus stories, even a ghost story or two.  We talked about Jesus’ trip to the temple when he was not much older than Isaac.  We talked about how he grew in wisdom and stature.  And I hoped, and silently prayed, that perhaps Isaac would adopt and incorporate this story.  And I thought to myself that perhaps incorporation is the hard part-for all of us.

Well after Isaac’s bedtime, we made our way into cozy sleeping bags in a frigid tent. Isaac slept to the point of snoring, which woke me because I thought that a black bear might have wandered in. 

…To Be Continued

About me


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October 27, 2015
Concrete Words: An Abstraction on the Rock
January 28, 2013
The Spirit is Willing
August 29, 2011
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What Gets Done in the Undone
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March 14, 2011
Joseph – Defender of the Fatherless
December 15, 2010
On Ann’s Husband—A Revolutionary Indeed
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A Rock Home Companion: the Man that Runs this Show
March 01, 2010


Lora Lynn
Reply October 20, 2009

It might be a stretch to say the hot dog was individually packaged pig. Aren't hot dogs just random meat of any persuasion? Or maybe you had all pork dogs... :-)

    Reply October 20, 2009

    I'm pretty sure I bought all beef dogs, but I let Seth write what he wants. It's always good, no matter the meat persuasion.

Your Husband
Reply October 20, 2009


There is an old Arkansan saying--"pig is pig." It's kind of like "it is what it is," but stated with a bit less sophistication and refinement. Essentially, pork rinds are pig, pig ears are pig, pork belly is pig, and pig knuckles are pig. If you mash them up into a meat conglomeration and put them inside an artificial casing of some sort, yes you have a hot dog, but you also have an individually wrapped serving of pork. It is what it is.

I do hope this spurs a lengthy discussion regarding edible pig parts.


Your Husband
Reply October 20, 2009

IT WAS PIG NOT BEEF, AMBER! If you ask Ike, he'll say it was black bear, but he's only 5.

    Reply October 20, 2009


    I forgot you bought those on your way out.

    but still, Blech about the pig parts!

Reply October 20, 2009

Hi there! Love that Whitman quote, and love your blog. It's so cute. :-)

Reply October 20, 2009

What a blessed boy!

Reply October 20, 2009

Beautiful memories in the making. The pictures are precious. What a lovely little boy you have. :)

To Think Is To Create
Reply October 20, 2009

Sounds so fun :) Incorporation does seem easier for the kids, doesn't it? Or maybe not exactly "easy" but "with less roadblocks".


Reply October 21, 2009

That wisdom/stature/favor with God and people has been my prayer for my children for the past 21 years. And - true to His nature - He has faithfully answered! This post is so sweet. You're making beautiful memories!

Jane Anne
Reply October 21, 2009

I was going to leave a thoughtful comment and then I saw the comments about the hotdogs and now I can't remember what was on my mind.
Great story- beautiful storytelling and picture of a father's love!

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