The Peace of a Tent


Over the weekend we drove up to Elkhart to camp at a new-to-us location, the Ivy Payne Preserve. It’s a Texas Land Conservancy property, donated to the TLC by Ivy Payne in the late 1980s. I stumbled into the whole ordeal in early March when looking into a different TLC property to see if I could access it (I couldn’t) and decided to click around to see what other properties they might have available that were open to the public. Enter the Ivy Payne Preserve and the Weekend at Ivy’s campout!

It turned out to be a wonderful weekend, full of meeting new people, hiking a rarely visited property, and seeing new plant and animal species. Plus, Forest got to play with two other kids and I think he had a lot of fun, too!

I spent a few minutes solo in the tent on Saturday afternoon doing some of my pt exercises after one of the hikes and then again on Sunday morning while changing clothes, which is when I snapped these photos from the tent. The light was coming in from the east, the air was cool, the noise was low—it was peaceful. I’m a big fan of the way light falls inside a tent and well, the way light falls on surfaces in general. It’s easy for me to zone out and dream. Staring at the light that morning and feeling myself just unwind and be content in the moment was what I needed. And it reminded me of the many months we spent living in a tent back in 2010 and 2011. I miss those times. I miss the simplicity of not being tied to the world. And of course we came home and back to the realities of frustrating city politics, news of immigrants being murdered in nearby Cleveland, Tx and on and on and on. I still think about how I can mark time on the AT to the news of certain events—the volcano erupting in Europe, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It reminds me of the Barefoot Sisters learning about 9/11 after emerging from the Maine Woods. The world goes on while we’re content in our tents.


If I can ever get my hip/back/leg situation worked out, I could definitely do six months in a tent again…someday.


  • Donner

    I always feel lazy if I’m in a tent with sunlight hitting it! I should try setting up a basecamp and taking an afternoon tent siesta sometime. Congrats on finding some new public lands 🙂

    • Patrice La Vigne

      I relished being back in a tent for multiple nights on my recent gear-testing backpacking trip. And I was solo!! All the gals were chatting constantly, and I was the least chatty, so I spent some time in my tent to quiet my world and soak it up.

      I would love to get back out there to do a long hike!!

  • sonnia hill

    Ivy Payne is a great location to visit. I have gone several times and worked on a short species list with a botanist from SFA. I have gotten caught in a summer rain and arrived dripping wet back to the shelter. Such fun!

    What a fulfilling family outing you had.

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