I blame Katniss Everdeen- for my unexpected actions of shaking off reality and running from my list of obligations piled on my subconscious’ plate this morning…
Last night I watched Katniss run around in the woods in the movie, Hunger Games. She used the woods and her intense bow hunting skills to outwit her enemy: the powers over her. So I was restless last night, trying to figure out what skills I could use if I was “chosen” to compete, and wondering why I choose to stay in suburbia when there is no fence around me (unlike where Katniss lives).
In the morning, Eric and I sat around talking about the bills, summer plans, yard projects, dirty toilets, birthday parties, people we were worried about and things we should do with our lives. My eye started to twitch as I felt like everything was stacked on top of each other and in order to enjoy life, I had to get my bloody list completed.
We continued to try to hash everything out and then decided not to do any of it. Thankfully, just like Katnis, we decide to ‘sneak over our fence’ (not literally, but it would be funny to jump into my neighbor’s yard just to see what they would do)… to get away from our normal routines and preconceived ideas of what we should do on Sunday.
Instead of folding the laundry, I raked through it looking for clothes to throw in the car and left the rest on the floor.
Instead of cleaning out the car, we piled more things on top of the already existing shoes and mixture of clothes and empty water bottles.
Instead of cleaning up the yard, I heaped a bunch of garbage and toys from the car on the grass to deal with another day.
Instead of prepping dinner, I threw it all in the ice chest and hoped we could cook it in the mountains somewhere.
Instead of showering or putting on makeup, we slapped on swim suits and hats.
This is my kind of Sunday. The kids ask where we are going and we really don’t know but we say,
“See that mountain over there? We are going towards those trees”.
I throw some candy in the back seat and they forget their need to know what we are up to- works every time.
The further we drive from ‘suburbia in the desert’, the more trees start to canvas the back ground, reminding me that we are going the right way. I haven’t thought about the plans, or the house cleaning, or the person I worry about; instead my mind is transfixed on what we might find, what rivers we will cross and which way we should go.
The question that rolls over in the creek of my mind and comes back up every hour or so (while in the mountains with no cell service) is: What if we break down up here? But each time I let it go because I think of all the places we will miss out on if I allow that thought to deter me. Fear is stupid.
We drive to Crouch, ID and ask where the local water hole is, or what moms like to call ‘the beach’. A local fills us in on the camp grounds and natural hot springs up the road a ways, so we throw some chips and apples in the back seat for the restless kids and keep driving.
I drool over the creeks that cris-cross, and through the trees nestled near the road I briefly see trout holding spots in the otherwise rushing creeks, which gets my heart excited. I can drool, but today is not about me- it is for making memories…Kids will only be kids for a season, but fish will always be here. So I say that a few times to calm my excitement and I keep driving.
The Pandora Station stops working and the Update Facebook app stops its notifications.
We tell stories while we drive through the high country about our experiences as young adults in the woods and the funny things we came across. From the rear view mirror, I can see my daughter was looking at me differently, as if the stories were changing her mind about me in some way. I forget that they don’t know all of these stories- I guess I expected that since they were a part of me, they would just know.
Only one kid naps and one says she is car sick. Half way into the mountains we both wonder if this was a good idea because we are driving in the middle of no where and our kids are waiting for ‘the big suprise’. Thankfully, we make it to a camp ground and we plop down next to the roaring creek. The kids are excited to explore around. I take a deep breath of the fragrant mountain trees and air that I would pay to breath daily if I could.
I feel like a fish making its way back to its spawning creek as I allow myself to just be here, in the moment and satisfied (a little dramatic…nah). We play in the sand, explore trails, dig for rocks, examine caterpillar nests and warn the kids about getting too close to the swift part of the creek about 50 times.
After a time of play, we drive again and take a road that says “Not maintained for cars”; like teenagers, Eric and I sit up in our seats to navigate our SUV, named ‘Big Girl’, around rocks in the road and through ravines created by the snow runoff. We make it over the mountain and come down into a valley that holds Silver Creek (A nice trout stream). The alpine trees circle around the fresh spring grass and flowers, with the inviting creek meandering gracefully through it all.
The kids hike with Eric and I throw my fly line around for a bit. But even though I am on a creek that I have been dreaming of exploring, I find that I don’t need to catch anything…this moment is beautiful. (But I terribly want to fish it now, don’t get me wrong..eye twitch is back).
We drive down the road and come across a developed hot springs in the middle of the mountains. We pull into the driveway and make it sound like this was the plan all along to our kids, trying to be the heroes. The breeze is blowing gently, perfect for a hot springs pool. Floating in the water, surrounded by trees, and seeing smiles on my children’s faces provides a moment of pure joy (even though I had to borrow a swim suit someone had left there, which made me feel weird, and my hat hair is looking real pretty #we are in the woods #no one cares #I still cant believe I borrowed a swim suit).
I love it when adventure works out like this.
After swimming, we find a camp site to make dinner at. Since we forgot a pan to cook our burgers on, or any utensils, Eric builds a fire and we use a grate to cook the burgers. Thankfully I did not clean my car out so it is like a Good Will on wheels. I find my pocket knife that has a fork and spoon attached and we use a chip bag as plates. The kids run around like they are race cars and they think it is so funny we don’t have plates. I try to make it sound like this is how we do adventure- all part of the plan kids, all part of the plan.
By 9 pm, the sun is starting to set and even though we are nestled up to the camp fire, our wet hair is causing a chill.
We load up the kids and all of the weird items I pulled from my car while trying to improvise, and slowly make our way back out of the valley towards the desert.
Around each corner I try to remember the things that I was so worried and stressed about this morning so that I can pick them back up and get back into “real life” mode. I randomly remember a quote from an independent film I watched recently- the main character responds to his wife as they are arguing and says (from what I remember):
“Maybe we are only making up things to fight about, and worry about, because our lives are so perfect that it is boring us”.
Its true- even if we don’t have perfect lives (no such thing), it seems like we are naturally inclined to focus more on the problems and we forget to focus on the blessings. I wonder why I allow myself to get so mentally ‘fenced in’ and allow the tasks that I feel like I have to accomplish before I can do anything creative or fun, deter me from what is truly important: time appreciating what God has blessed us with, creating memories with my kids and starting traditions of adventure. I think we all should skip a few steps on the list and skip to the good part more often.
As I continue driving towards my high desert/farm land/suburbia home, I pass the last row of trees…The Von Trap family song from The Sound of Music pops into my mind as I picture each tree saying,
“So long, farewell,Auf Weidersehen, goodbye”….
The car is silent from sleeping children and parents who are trying to hold on to the last few quiet hours of a perfect, adventurous, Sunday.
There will always be fish, but there won’t always be this:
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Thanks, Katniss Everdeen- Even though it was semi-hard for me to be so close to Silver Creek and not fish, you have it way worse than I do for sure with your country problems and your two boyfriends. I hope if I get chosen to fight, people will want to form an alliance with me because I can fish and I can tell twisted awkward campfire stories.
Thanks for stopping by to read my strange stories and perspectives. I like you and I think you should take your family into the mountains this weekend. 🙂