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Sleeping Outside

by Tara

It started about a week ago—an unsettling restlessness around bedtime, a silent tossing and turning, a nagging sensation that something wasn't right. It was taking forever to fall asleep in our big, warm, comfortable bed. At first, neither of us could figure out what was wrong, and the enigma of it was maddening. Eventually, though, I had a stroke of insight:

It's too quiet in here!

With a Minnesota winter fast approaching, we'd shut our windows, sealing away the chill evening air. Without realizing it, we'd also separated ourselves from the soothing sound of the wind, bugs, and all manner of wildlife in the woods outside. Having recognized the source of the stifling lifelessness we felt, we couldn't stand it any longer.

So, we flung off our oppressive covers at 1AM and made a plan of action: Tyler would set up our tent in the backyard, while I filled a backpack with everything we'd need. But first, we got dressed: merino wool from head to toe, followed by flannel pajama pants, fleece hoodies, and knitted hats.

Sufficiently bundled, Tyler padded downstairs to get our accommodations sorted. Meanwhile, I collected a pair of water bottles, a roll of toilet paper, our headlamps, and finally, two apples for snacking. On my way out, I grabbed the pillows from our bed with a smile, knowing this small luxury would make our new home even more cozy.

Twenty minutes later, I joined Tyler outside—he had already assembled our trusty little tent, and nestled it in a stand of birch trees under the night sky. The nature we'd been missing was all around us once more, illuminated by a brilliant moon which cast a pearly glow over our new abode. As we chuckled with satisfied delight about our 1AM escapade, our laughs became trails of smoke, lit in the beams of our headlamps.

Then, we crawled into our double-wide sleeping bag, and bristled against the initial chill of cold nylon. In a matter of minutes, though, our body heat had tamed the air around us, and our little cocoon was as warm as could be. Listening to the rattle of brittle leaves against the wind, I felt connected to nature once more. In the downy depths of our new bed, we snuggled up to sleep; moments later, we fell into a peaceful slumber.

Our Tent In the Woods, Under the Moon


    I should stop by some night and make bear noises or something in the nearby shrubs :D
    Posted by Dave on November 8th, 2011 at 9:57 PM
    Hi Guys ...... you are too funny. One of the things we're most looking forward to is our nice big comfy bed. I wonder if we'll end up in our little tent too :)

    J & S
    Posted by Jim & Sandra on November 9th, 2011 at 2:20 AM
    OMG, this is happening to me!! The second night we stayed in a hotel room in Iowa I couldn't sleep at all and wanted to be in our tent. I told Kai it's been weird, as if I can't stand not to be in fresh air now, it feels so invigorating and natural. :-)
    Posted by Sheila on November 9th, 2011 at 11:13 PM
    Heh heh
    I know how you guys feel. It took me 2 weeks to get used to my bed again...I'd only been away 10day!
    There is something so natural about sleeping in tents.
    All the best
    Posted by Mark Burgess on November 10th, 2011 at 6:31 AM
    I can absolutely relate, not so much on the sounds but just the tent. The wife and I went camping a few weeks back with a bunch of friends; this time I loaned my cycling tent to a friend without a tent and the wife and I shared the Taj Mahal tent (not something you carry on your bike).

    We setup the big Queen size double height inflatable bed, then I proceeded to setup my REI Lite Core 1.5 sleeping pad. She got the big bead and I overly ENJOYED my perfectly fitted mat; truth be told about the big bed is doesn't work to well with two people in it as you both role towards the center.

    Loving the blog and going to be looking to it more next year as my next adventure includes the wife.
    Posted by Dustin on November 15th, 2011 at 12:16 AM
    Dave - Please don't; that would be creepy! :p

    Jim and Sandra - I am grateful for our big comfy bed, and love that it's there whenever I want it... but sleeping outside is still better! I'm curious to hear how you get on post-trip, so please keep us posted!

    Sheila - Wow, I'm surprised you're experiencing this phenomenon already. And I completely agree-- it is so invigorating. It sounds sort of weird, but living/sleeping outside makes me more able to intensely feel my own aliveness. It makes me remember that we're mammals, and maybe our natural habitat is out in the woods instead of indoors, and on dirt or grass instead of carpet.

    Mark - It's true-- After several days of living in a tent, being indoors just starts to feel weird and unnatural.

    Dustin - Sounds like fun! Where are you two headed?
    Posted by Tara on November 18th, 2011 at 11:44 AM
    Awesome! You captured the moment very well... This is still my favourite blog on the web! p.s. Good luck with the move to Vermont!
    Posted by Tony on November 29th, 2011 at 12:44 PM
    Thanks, Tony! :D
    Posted by Tara on December 2nd, 2011 at 12:19 PM