Near to Nature's Heart
August 5, 1897
"NEAR TO NATURE'S HEART."
The Glorious Tints of Tented Life Among The Bashan Oaks of Camp Hill.
Lazily Lolling Where the Stream of Life Is Flowing and the Breeze of Health is Blowing.
As one travels out from Marion on the Fredonia road, about seven miles southeast of our town, the monotony of the way is suddenly broken--the gleam of white canvas showing through the trees, catches the sight. Friendly smoke curling lazily above the tree tops is seen, anon, the bright colors of the star spangled banner meet the view, as the old flag flutters in the gentle breeze.
Familiar sounds break on the ear--the shrill call of children, the cheery laugh of the idlers lounging about on the grass or swinging in the comfortable hammocks, the sights and sounds show us the we are coming upon an unusual scene.
Where, aforetime, the lively squirrel and the wood birds occupied the premises, unmolested and unafraid, now, man has set up his home from the time being--pitched his tent in the wild wood, and, for a short time relaxed the muscles and unbent the bow, and, as Walt Whitman said, he "Loafs and invites his soul."
What is the attraction of this place that men and women will eave their comfortable homes to spend the heated term here in this grove?
A simple spring of water, a little stream, working its lazy way up through the rock and trickling down into the ground again. Hill's Spring is the name it has been known by for a long time, and this is the magnet that has been strong enough to draw together all these people.
We have not the ability to tell the exact composition of the waters of Hill's Spring, but in this case as in so many others "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." Drink the water, and, unless you prove an exception to the rule, these results will follow: Your appetite will improve from the first day, it will wax vigorous and strong, and the pure enjoyment of eating will be revealed to you; sleep will become sweet and sound; the whole system will become invigorated and life will put on new attractions.
These waters tone up the stomach and stimulate the liver and kidneys, and are what the physicians call a diuretic and alterative.
One peculiarity of the water is that the more you drink the more you may. It goes about this way: The first thing in the morning drink a pint of water from a bright tin cup just before breakfast take an appetizer in the shape of a pint of spring water--breakfast eaten--drink four gills of water, take a little exercise and then drink one half quart of water from Hill's Spring. Soon after drink some more water, and so go on all through the day, and as you drink so will you prosper as a camper.
There is something wonderfully attractive in this open air life-- this going back to mother Nature for a home. The nearer we get to the old lady's warm, maternal heart the more do we learn to love her. One learns how few are our real necessities, and how largely our wants are artificial. I have heard it said that the most sophisticated dwellers in cities will leave his luxurious home, with its ease and comfort, and a few days of wild life in the mountains or plains will reveal to him that there is a very thin veneer of "culture" upon him, after all, and that to relapse into semi barbarism is not so difficult.
To loll on the grass, eat apples, wonder what one is to have for dinner, take a leisurely nap, saunter through a game of croquet, pretend to read a little and really to yawn a good deal, occasionally to awaken to a lively interest in some game of checkers that two champions are wrestling over; to watch the people who go riding by, so busy, while we are so lazy, these are a part of the camper's experience through the day. But when the sun has retired from his blue empire, and gentle night possesses the scene, when the last meal of the day has been eaten and there is positively nothing to be done, then a new side of the picture is presented to the view. Now the katydid puts in her voice in evidence, the gentle tree toad awakes to life once more, "The beetle boometh athwart the thicket, lo the moon cometh and looketh down alone." and every variety of night wandering bug has an immediate and pressing engagement at the nearest light. Then the musical ones in our camp are astir, and their voices swell out in the strains of some well known hymn, or, an old war song is recalled. Some evenings the tones of the violin are heard, the gentle guitar and the tinkling mandolin, with the deep notes of the organ to swell the sound.
O! Hill's Spring is not the most quiet place in the world, nor does it pretend to be. Come and see and hear for yourself. Come and camp with us and we will share the invigorating [illegible] with you.
Our camp is small, as yet, tho, like the western railroad [illegible].
From Fredonia there are camping here now: Dr. Mott and family, Mr. Jacob Crider and family, Mr. Cooper and family, Henry Rice and family, John Wyatt and family, Frank Hughes and family, Dr. J. D. Mott, of Crider, the Misses Wigginton, Miss Nara Nunn, of Madisonville, Rev. Chappell, of Paducah.
From Marion at what you might call Camp No. 1, W. B. Yandell Geo M. Crider and wife, J. M. Freeman and family, at Camp No. 2, A. Wilborn and family with Mr. and Mrs. Kingston, at Camp No. 3 T. H. Cochran and wife, C. S. Nunn and wife, S. W. Adams and wife, Jno. A Moore and wife. Miss Nellie Wilson and W. D Baird are to come at once, as also A. J. Duvall and family in the next camp. If there are more coming this deponent knoweth not, but be there few or many, all are welcomed gladly and will be well paid for coming.
Perhaps, if I were to close this paper and give not one word to description of the inconveniences or vexations of a life in the woods, it would be but a one sided picture. But the little annoyances are so small that one only laughs at them and makes them a part of the fun.
To be sure bugs are in evidence everywhere, and, if one occasionally gets into the butter, what then? A rare species of crawling creature puts his nose into the gravy, and several varieties of ants travel up and down the table cloth and taste of the bill of fare. There are, also, spiders, huge spiders and great whoppers, but after, what is a spider?
Don't let such things terrify you but come out here and see us.
L. A. W.
Source: Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, August 5, 1897, Image 3 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
[My comments are in brackets.]