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by Eliza Bissett

FridayTent in forest

Dear Mother,

I never knew there could be so much green! I never knew green could have so many shades. It is so different and wild, yet I can still sense pieces of home. The sea, the sky, the leaves, the creatures, the mountains—it’s as if all your infinite worlds are squashed together right here! There is so much to see and learn. There is so much to love!

When Father said he was taking us on this weekend camping trip, he said I would have to learn important skills. He said it would change me. I’ve never been camping but this all sounds exciting! Don’t worry about me, Mother. You taught me so much, and I am ready for anything. You taught me my letters. You taught me to wait my turn. You even taught me to tie my own shoes. Remember when I was a baby and I couldn’t even walk?! I was so silly. Look how far I’ve come now! I am camping, Mother! And I am practically doing it all on my own!

Say, Mother, I didn’t think to ask before. Have you ever been camping?




Dear Mother,

When we got to the campsite everything seemed fine. I still love all the trees and the little animals. I even befriended the sweetest rabbit. I named her Ellie. But then Father said we had to catch our own food! He says we might have to eat Ellie! Oh Mother, I just couldn’t. And oh Mother, the ground was so hard last night. I never expected that, and my body is filled with so much aching. Will I get any sleep here at all? The night was so cold and dark, and even when the sunrise came and looked so beautiful with all the colors flung across the sky, I still remembered that the night will come again no matter what I do.

FireFather promised he wouldn’t leave me alone, but whenever I ask for help he smirks and says I can do that by myself. And then he gives me another impossible task. Sometimes I even feel so angry with Father. I know that I shouldn’t, Mother, but I can’t seem to help it. Perhaps I just miss you.

Oh Mother, I don’t think I like camping after all. I know I don’t belong here in the wilderness. I long for the comforts of home. Who knew that plates and knives and forks could be a luxury! And how I miss having a proper bed! I suppose I’m more of a homebody. You should come see me failing abysmally out here. You’d laugh. I can’t even keep a fire going. It seems there’s always something to put it out as soon as I get the smallest flame. Father doesn’t scold, but I feel his eye on me and it makes me feel stupid. The wind howls, or the sticks are too wet, and it always feels like my fault, even though I know I can’t control the wind and the rain. I know you taught me patience, though I never thought it would be like this!

Oh, Mother, don’t think badly of me, but I want to come home. Please, please let me come home. I’ve had quite enough.




Dear Mother,

Last night was the worst of all. I don’t want to even speak to you of it, but I think that I should. That bear came and wrecked everything. Father warned me about the bear, and asked me to always put away the food, but last night I was so miserable and I just didn’t do it. I had done so much work already, and then that bear came growling from the darkness, not caring about any of my hard work, and we all had to run and hide! Imagine, me hiding! And I never wanted to come out, not ever. The howling and the destruction was terrifying. Oh mother, I was shaking so badly. My tent, our food, our water supply—it was all destroyed. All of it.

But then Brother was there. You should have seen Him, Mother! He was so magnificent. He fought the bear, armed with just that penknife Father gave Him before we left. It was a terrible fight! I watched the whole thing from under the bushes where I was hiding. And—oh! That bear swallowed him whole. I screamed when it happened, and the bear heard me and it gave my hiding place away. Big black eyes locked with mine and he came lumbering towards me but I couldn’t seem to move! I thought of home and how much I wished I’d never even heard of camping. I wanted to run or fight – – anything, but still I knelt paralyzed in the bushes. I screamed again because I was going to join Brother in the belly of the beast too.

But suddenly, Brother tore that bear up from the inside. He really did! He cut right through him with just that little penknife from Father. And then there was Brother again, standing in front of me. He had some wounds, of course! On his hands and feet mostly. Battles like that don’t leave a person without scars, even someone as strong as Brother. Oh Mother. I really love Him! He saved us all last night.

The sun rose even more beautifully than Friday and I feel differently today. The battle with that bear changed everything. Brother has been helping me more. I think He knew how badly this whole trip was going for me yesterday. He helped get the campsite put back together. He even showed me some tips to keep a fire going. The water and food supply is mostly replenished, thanks to Him.

After seeing what Brother did for us I realized that maybe there was more I could do to help. I decided to let Father prepare my rabbit so that we would have enough food after the bear and all. Mother, it was just awful! That poor rabbit. But Brother showed me I could sacrifice, too. I know it was the right thing to do. I think I am getting the hang of this camping trip now! But saying I would want to stay here for a day longer than I have to would be pushing it. Yes, I am still SO ready to come home to where I belong!

I will be back home with you soon. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve learned! You’ll be so proud!