This weekend, we’d planned on doing one last canoe trip. It would have been our sixth such trip this summer. To say that we were looking forward to it would be a gross understatement. We’ve loved these trips. Sure, they were hard work – lugging two small children and camping gear for four into backwoods lakes in a canoe – but they were an escape. They were islands of quiet in the vast, churningly busy weeks of the ocean that is – was – this crazy summer. They were our getaway, our holiday, our us time. And we’d gotten really, really good at them.
When we started out, on our first trip, a couple of months ago, we were still figuring things out. We packed too much food and not enough beverage, too much sunscreen and not enough bug repellent, too much bear spray and not enough chipmunk-be-gone. We struggled with solar chargers for our gadgets and failed to figure out how to use the GoPro. We did not yet understand that beef jerky was a food. But by our most recent trip, we had things down to a science. We sorted out the charger issue (trick: get a really good charger and charge it in advance) and figured out how to ward off chipmunks. We’d worked out the exact amount of food we needed and had figured out how to hack a portable, fully stocked bar (with ICE). We understood about beef jerky. We had it down. And this last trip? Was going to be a model of backcountry camping ninja efficiency.
But then I got sick, and Kyle got sick, and with too much stuff to do – little things, like sort out immigration and relocation and figuring out how we’re going to move our entire household to New York City in the next couple of weeks – and we just couldn’t do it. So this weekend, we’re staying in Nyquil and leasing forms and packing boxes, and just dreaming of the lake, and of how this would have the camping weekend to end all camping weekends.
So I thought that I would list the things that we would have done, which basically amounts to a list of the Very Important Learnings Of Camping For Comfort Addicts that we mastered this summer:
So we’re headed off into the woods again. Heading off into the woods has become what we do to relax, because what’s more relaxing than taking two small, hyper children into remote backcountry by canoe and chasing them around there for a day or two?
It is relaxing, just not in any of the ways that one usually associates with relaxation. It’s relaxing because it takes away from all of the noise of our life: it takes us away from televisions and satellite radio and iPads and computer games and all the buzz and hum and distraction that goes along with those things. It takes us away to somewhere where we can be by ourselves, with each other, with nothing to distract us from each other but the lap of waves and the music of the wind through the trees and the brightness of the stars. And also mosquitoes, but you can swat those.
I take a lot of photos of my kids. A lot of photos of my kids. More than I know what to do with. More than I can fit on my blog or in a Twitter stream or on my Facebook page or even in a good old fashioned hold-in-your-hands photo album. My life is, to borrow from Intel’s wonderful tag line, a truly visual life. (I put this mom to shame. Seriously. I’ve never cried over missed photo opps, but that’s mostly because I never miss a photo opp.)
And ever since I discovered Instagram I’ve been taking even more. I didn’t think that it was possible to live more visually than I already was, but it is. It’s totally possible, and then some.