Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
For the past couple of years my parents and I have been camping. So far we’ve only camped at Assateague Island in Maryland, but it’s one of the most relaxing things that I’ve done. Usually we stay for two nights and sleep in tents while visiting the nearby towns, Berlin and Ocean City. Setting up the tents when we first arrive is questionable as to whether it’s straight forward or annoying when I’m doing it with my dad. Sometimes everything goes fine… and sometimes the tent, or my dad, refuses to cooperate with me. Usually during this time my mom is wandering around the campground and taking pictures of the scenery or any wild ponies that happen to be there.
The best part of camping is when we start a fire. I try to be the one who chops a log for kindling because, quite simply, I like the rustic feel that it gives me and I get to use a hatchet. The campfire is at its best on a cold evening. That way you can appreciate the warmth that the fire gives. My favorite time with the fire is at night when my parents go to sleep. When my parents go to sleep it’s just myself, the fire, and the stars. That’s when I’m the most relaxed and at peace. I can forget about everything and listen to the crickets, the crashing of distant waves, and the crackling of the fire while appreciating the soft light of the stars. It’s a type of peace that I can’t seem to find in my usual day to day life and I wish that I could.
Occasionally my dad will bring our fishing gear and we go fishing on the beach on the other side of the island. Fishing off of the beach also gives me a level of peace that’s hard for me to find. Standing just past the surf with a pole in hand could seem tedious to some, but to me there’s nothing like feeling the sand between my toes, the crisp ocean breeze tugging at my clothes, the warm sun against my skin, having the smell of the ocean filling my nose, and looking out across a seemingly endless expanse of water stretching towards the horizon. Of course, catching a fish does add to the excitement. My dad told me once that fishing is enjoying the day ninety-five percent of the time and catching fish five percent of the time.
Going camping at Assateague also forces me to be away from my Xbox and other forms of electronics. When camping my only connection to the cyber world is my phone and that only lasts for however long its battery can. I think that this part of camping is great for everyone because it forces people to interact with others and with nature. The most that I do with my phone or iPad when camping is read or write.
Camping gives me a sense of peace that most things in my life can’t. When at Assateague I can forget about everything and enjoy the peace and quiet that lets my mind go from a beehive on caffeine to a calm lake. Everyone should try and find that sort of place or activity at least once a year if they can because it’s like a fresh start.