When The Camper Gets Closed Up For Winter

Today, we packed up pillows and linens. We emptied food from cabinets and cleaned out the fridge.

We emptied the contents of our medicine cabinet into a tote, and bagged up unused rolls of toilet paper.

Lounge chairs and garden ornaments are stacked in the shed. The fire pit, now cold, is left with only traces of gray ash swirling in the autumn wind.

The lot looks increasingly empty with every toy and bike locked away. The swimming lake is being drained, and the playground is almost eerily quiet.

The flowers are still blooming around the rock we branded with our paint-covered hands. The chill in the air doesn’t quite match the iridescent foliage, and it’s a stark reminder that summer is over.

Our children are sad. And, honestly, so are we.

Today we said goodbye to friends who, after countless late nights, became family. We said goodbye to playing glow-in-the-dark frisbee. We said goodbye to playing Uno by campfire light.

Our daughter hugged her best friend, as they promised to keep in touch. We watched her family drive away, dust from the road floating behind. Overcome with emotion, our girl quietly whispered, “mommy, I’m going to miss her.” I didn’t tell her then, but I was sad too.

All our neighbors are closing up now.

It won’t be long until the dirt roads are deserted.

Instead of fishing today, folks are loading cars and tarping roofs. They’re “winterizing” water lines, and turning off propane. Every family here – implementing their own expert solutions for keeping critters out.

Our children wait in the car. There’s nothing left for them to do. They’re mournful for the end of summer.

They’re just going to miss this place.

We console our kids – we tell them, only 188 days until next season.

But, truthfully, it feels like a lifetime to us too.

We have one final look-around. We’re making sure nothing is forgotten.

My husband locks the doors, and runs down his mental checklist.

Our camper is closed up for the winter (man, that feels so final).

It’s a bittersweet day for us – We’re relieved our work is finished, but sad to be leaving…

We maintain our happy faces for the kids, and remind them once again – only 188 days until next season.

Only 188 day until the campground opens again.

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