We have just returned from a sojourn in the Peak District. We camped, of course, at our favourite campsite Beechcroft Farm.
Continuing a litle from my previous post I see camping as very much a play activity, even though there is generally more work involved than just staying at home. For a start you have to put the whole thing (tent/awning etc.) up then fetch water, build a fire, dig a latrine, you know the sort of thing I mean.
When you camp you tend to do things a little differently. There is generally less access to the more modern conveniences such as a dish washer or a TV (just don’t try to take the fan heater away from Anne though) and you establish rotas for washing and cleaning. You also find that there is a more widespread communal element to this, a collective understanding that if we all keep our bit of the site tidy then it will be for the benefit of everyone. The ‘normal’ rules of life are suspended and we take the time to greet one another and think nothing of asking to borrow stuff we may have forgotten to pack.
Kester Brewin describes such times as these as Temporary Autonomous Zones and he cites gatherings such as the Greenbelt festival as examples. In a TAZ he suggests that a alternative way of living together is adopted and new order of behaviour is established. This will, for the time it is in place, offer us a glimpse at how life could be, a chance to experience for real a previously imagined ideology. This is by no means utopian, there are always elements that will upset or anger people, but there is a sense that each of us is contributing to the whole and without that contribution it would be a different experience for all involved.
There can’t be many areas of life that allow us these possibilities.
And of course at festivals we camp. We erect and establish our world for the duration of the event and then we, hopefully, pack it all up again and return to permanence changed forever by the time spent together.