Everbody Needs a Little Time Away

“Though men in the mass forget the origins of their need, they still bring wolfhounds into city apartments, where dog and man both sit brooding in wistful discomfort. The magic that gleams an instant between Argos and Odysseus is both the recognition of diversity and the need for affection across the illusions of form. It is nature’s cry to homeless, far-wandering, insatiable man: “Do not forget your brethren, nor the green wood from which you sprang. To do so is to invite disaster.” — Loren Eiseley

Taking any time off this summer? One thing about my present job is that we get the last two weeks of July off every summer. The mill shuts down, and basically the Maintenance Dept. are the only ones to come in. Not that I love having my vacation decided for me, but the last two weeks of July in this neck of the woods are often the nicest weather you are going to get the whole summer. My two weeks just started. We had sort of planned on going to my wife’s family in Japan this July, but we put that off till next along with a trip to China. This year we have nothing big. Just got back from a weekend of camping up in Cape Breton.

The second night we spent in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It is beautiful, and we enjoyed a trip around the Cabot Trail. In the evening after a simple meal cooked over my old Coleman we sat down around the fire. The four of us. My son and his sweetheart also came with us. You couldn’t help but notice in a full and ridiculously tightly packed campground that we were one of the only sites who had made a campfire! Wow, I mean, I was a little shocked. What are you all doing out there without a campfire? We sat there till late admiring the stars, the milky way, and the glowing embers. Discussing life, the after-life, and our hopes and dreams for the future. The people next to us had two little girls along with them. I suspect the girls would have loved to have a fire and roast a marshmallow, instead all of them climbed into the tent around 8:30 for a healthy nights sleep.

A healthy nights sleep, a healthy meal, and a clean and pristine tent. All admirable, I suppose. But, is camping supposed to be so neat and clean? I mean, shouldn’t we be ready to eat a sausage that fell on the ground? Pee behind a tree and not wash our hands after? Go without showering or shaving for a few days? Shouldn’t our little kids be staying up far past their bedtime? Then be lying in the tent before their parents come and listening to the night sounds? Shouldn’t they be able to lie there hearing their parents and the older ones talking? I remember how comforting it was to fall asleep with the quiet murmur of adults talking while I watched their silhouettes play against the tent wall as they moved in front of the fire.

We all need some time away. Even our kids. Away from the rules that govern our day to day lives. Away from the little ruts that we have made for ourselves in our paths at work and at home. Some time to get dirty, some time to argue about directions as we navigate our way, some time to eat too much junk food, some time to sit and talk about life, and some time see each other in ways that are different than usual. Are you taking some time away this summer? Where are you going? What are you doing? Are your kids going with you? Are you going to let them be free-range kids for a while this summer? Spend some time with your family, spend some time getting dirty together, spend some time getting to know each other. When all is said and done, these are the times that you will remember. Cherish them. — pEACE oUT thom

“Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort. — Loren Eiseley

When I was little we had an 8 track tape of this playing in our Chevy Beauville as we traveled around Lake Superior. Somewhere around 1978. Everything that happened in my childhood happened in 1978.