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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Couple Camp Out in Their Backyard for a Year

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: camping, tent camping, outdoor recreation, nature, UU World, spirituality, environment, Keith Goetzman,

The ShortlidgesTerri and Josh Shortlidge of Melrose, Massachusetts, have slept in a tent in their backyard for more than a year, reports UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association. It started as a one-nighter for the Great American Backyard Campout, and they liked it so much they simply kept doing it.

They’re not calling their long campout a “staycation,” and they’re not attempting to simulate homelessness like all those camp-in-a-cardboard-box charity events. The Shortlidges are just reveling in the natural and metaphysical wonder that is their suburban Boston backyard:

The Shortlidges are tweeting about their ongoing campout; recent news has included a new down comforter, welcome rains from Hurricane Earl after a dry summer, and a “sleeping terrace” for their tent so they don’t have to move it every few nights to prevent grass die-off.

Although their camping ritual isn’t a charity stunt or a real hardship—Terri and Josh have all the comforts of home a few feet away—Josh tells UU World that the simplicity of tent living instills a certain empathy:

“We have a greater appreciation for all humans now—for those who preceded us over the past millennia, and especially for those who have less than us.”

Source: UU World, Great American Backyard Campout 

Image by David Bliss and Jean Harris, courtesy of the photographers.