The other day, my long-time friend and law school classmate Patrick sent me a couple of photographs taken thirty years ago, from a camping trip at the start of our third and last year at NYU law school. It was the beginning of the fall semester, and the onset of classes had triggered a bout of cabin fever so intense that five of us piled into Patrick’s car and headed for the Catskills.
This may sound like an odd thing for a law professor to be saying, but my reaction to the start of classes was so acutely resistant that even I — a budding city dweller in the making — was willing to forgo the niceties of the law school dorm in order to escape the world of casebooks and classes.
You see, unlike my outdoorsy law school friends, I was not a regular camper. Actually, I wasn’t a camper, period, and I haven’t been since then. It’s not that I’m a high maintenance traveler. In fact, between summer storm chase tours and countless trips to New York, I’ve stayed in places that won’t be listed in any premium travel guidebooks. But when it comes to accommodations away from home, I do strongly prefer (1) a bed to sleep in; and (2) indoor plumbing.
I don’t remember a lot about the trip itself, though I know that we all got along together just fine. I also seem to recall a couple of loud guys camping in an adjacent plot who had too much to drink on multiple nights, but maybe that’s just a ritual memory of every camping trip, whether it actually happened or not.
Anyway, after a few days in the wilderness, we folded our tents and returned to the urban jungle. Soon I got back into the law school swing of things, and it would prove to be a good and meaningful year, with some fun and laughter mixed in with the work.
Wow, it has been thirty years since my last year of law school. I’m sure the muse of nostalgia will cause me to write more about that time during the months to come.