Paula M. Anderson

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September 20, 2012
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ANDERSON: What do we really need in this life?

There's nothing like a camping trip to make you realize how little you need.

Like food.

My husband and I took our camper trailer up to Carbondale and found a nice spot in a campground alongside the Crystal River. It was amazing how instantly relaxing it was to have to do NOTHING.

We fixed a pasta dish for dinner that was loaded with sauteed odds and ends from the garden. Basically, I made due with part of a zucchini, some onion, some yellow squash, some diced tomato and some Swiss chard leaves. I cooked up a few turkey sausage links, diced them up and then added them to the vegetables, along with some cooked penne pasta and some fresh shredded Parmesan cheese.

I forgot to bring herbs, so we just used salt and pepper. It was delicious!

The next morning, I cooked more of the turkey sausage links, and sauteed more of those same veggies in the skillet. This time I added a few beaten eggs for an omelet, and topped it with a few spoonfuls of homemade salsa. A pot of fresh coffee, a sliced banana on the side, and we were set.

Once again I was surprised at how simple good eating can be, especially at a time when people are giving away their excess garden produce. It's a wonderful time of year for that very reason.

If I could pick a word that best describes it, it would be abundance.

Sitting in that little trailer with a good book and listening to the crickets at night, I couldn't help but feel deeply satisfied.

I thought: "What do we really need?"

At the very least, a clean, dry place to sleep at night, good food and clean water. Those few things alone set most of us in this country apart from so many people on this earth.

Every single person should have at least that, and those of us who do should be grateful every single day that we are that blessed. If we're not sick, we're even more fortunate.

This was just an overnight trip. We left Sunday morning and we were back by noon on Monday.

But was such short a time worth it?

It reminded me of one Sunday many years ago when we decided on the spur of the moment to pack up the kids and "go somewhere." We drove up above Rifle to a fish hatchery. Then we had a picnic. Not such a big deal on what was back then a pretty frugal budget.

As we were driving back, I remember thinking that someday trips would be more exciting.

That's when my then 5-year-old son piped up: "This was the best day of my whole life!"

I thought of that day during our short getaway this week.

Just like the food, it was about quality, not quantity.

Spending the night in a campground beside the Crystal River was just enough of a respite to provide a fresh perspective. But that can also come from a walk along the river trail, or a drive through the vineyards of East Orchard Mesa.

We don't need as much as we think, and most of us have so much more than we know!

Paula M. Anderson is a local writer who has done presentations on Eating Well throughout the community. She is author of "Eat Well, Be Well," a booklet for forming a healthy relationship with food. Contact her at

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The Post Independent Updated Sep 20, 2012 03:52PM Published Sep 20, 2012 03:52PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.