Instant Imposter Syndrome
"We're nature people," the people in the campsite across from us said.
"So are we," I replied. "I mean, I'm guessing most people here are."
We are currently in a campground in central Florida. A river snakes through the 450-site campground, marked with signs every hundred yards begging people to beware of the serpents and not feed the alligators. Wildlife kills! it warns. Beware, beware, beware.
The Instagram-perfect mom in the wide-brimmed sun hat looked at me and scrunched her nose. "I dunno," she said. "I think most people think they are nature people but really they just like the idea of nature."
Is she a witch? A time traveler? Had this young woman with the perfectly blended sun-kissed makeup seen me on a hike with my kids just two hours prior to this conversation? Because I think maybe she did. And if she did, well, busted.
I love nature. I moved to the wild. I've thru-hiked. I was trained in wilderness survival. I've camped for weeks, pitching my own tent, making my meals and then packing up camp to move the next day. Then I taught my husband to join me. Now my children are learning. We're living out of an RV, for goodness' sake! I love nature! I do! I do! Really, I do! At least, I think I do.
OK, here's the thing. It's not my fault.
Snakes love me. You know that. They find me and follow me and stick their tongues out at me as if I were their second-grade school picture photographer. And snakes are, like, really great at camouflage, so it's not as if they gently slither into my periphery like the sun rising gently through my window, awakening me with its warmth and slowly growing glow. No! They're just suddenly there! And my heart leaps. If they could work on their gentle sunrise approach, we'd probably get along dandy.
It would also be nice if the alligators worked on that. We've been in Florida for a month now. It's been lovely and lush and lively. However, I've learned that that there are lively things living in that lushness -- and there is a sign directly across from my campground screaming beware, beware with a big ol' picture of an alligator on it.
So was it really my fault that when I had taken a walk earlier in the day with my kids -- through the dense bush that skirts along the river with the snakes and the gators -- my directions to my kids had gone a little like the following?