It is the oldest girl who proposes it: the last camp fire trip of the season. Let the tarp and the tent remain at home and sleep under an open sky, before the mosquitoes and midges occupy the forest. What father could say no to that? It gets late before we get away. Again. But we don’t care about that. It’s Friday, it is the end of the week and it’s lovely weather. It is three happy hikers embarking on a walk through the spring woods in the beginning of dusk, the woodcock flying back and forth across the treetops against the darkening sky. The small pine needle path leads us through the forest behind our house, takes us down the steep hill to the skiing tracks and leads us over the little bridge. Then we leave the path, and walk into the night between straight pines and over heather and lichen. The feeling of sitting by a camp fire that your daughters have created, almost by themselves, see the joy of responsibility glow as radiant as the firewood. To lie in your sleeping bag and let your eyes find rest in the night sky above, hear the light breath of the kids who sleep next to you.
It was to be a cold night, but we first notice when we find a a tiny amount of frost on the backpack the next morning and look at the thermometer – three lines down on the blue part of the scale. The girls fire up a morning camp fire, and it is difficult to say what warms me the most, the girls’ joy to be out, the fire or the sun, also joining in. We are in no hurry to go back home, one sits by the stream and listens to the water, with thoughts that migrate to the bathing trips of summer, another goes exploring, at one point close the camp, then suddenly on the other side of the river gorge, high above the open pine forest. It is sad and nice all at once. The last camp fire of the season.