Yesterday, I walked in the wilderness.
Today, I sit in my Darth Vader pajamas, too sore to move, too tired to think.
I’ll fill in what happened in between when my memory isn’t clouded by blisters, sores, aches, and the lingering feeling that I just am not as grown up as I thought I was.
Last night we gathered around the fire pit in Cassie’s backyard. I was lazy with summer heat, and sat, kicking my legs, on a plastic chair, while she and Ryan went into the back woods to look for logs, sticks, bamboo: kindling.
When they finally arrived, their arms were full with bounty. I had managed to pool together a small pile of leaves in my laze, and we began to stack the fuel in and around the pit. After days of rain the copper-wrought pit had been full of a thick, syrupy amalgam of mud and old ashes. Ryan had hosed out the grime, and Cassie had wiped the remaining chunks away with an old blue and orange beach towel. I sat and thought about how lovely a toasted marshmallow would taste in my mouth.
Later, as we sat around the roaring flame, I wished I hadn’t been so lazy. I wish that my hands had wrought the flame that licked and curled around my marshmallow, turning it black and coarse. I grabbed the box of matches–253 of them, all sitting and waiting to strike –and lit one, throwing it nervously into the flames. I lit one, and then another, and the leaves caught fire and glowed with warmth.
There, I though. I contributed. I started the fire. I struck the match that lit a thousand leaves.
But there cannot be a fire without fuel.
Perhaps that is my greatest downfall: I expect to be able to just strike a match and the fire will come, without taking the time to build the up my reservoir of fuel.
I have twenty-four hours to buy hiking supplies for an impromptu camping trip which I will be taking Thursday.
I am equipped now only with:
A hiking pack from the year 1984
A sleeping bag from a trip to San Francisco seven years ago, which smells questionable
Hiking sneakers (not boots) and hiking socks from that same trip to San Francisco seven years ago
I think that’s the magic of this camping trip, though. It’s spur of the moment. Neither of us have ever hiked this circuit, or been to the location. Neither of us have gone on a solo camping trip before. I’ll need to buy hiking pants, rope, twine, bug spray, and a knife.
Last night I dreamt that i was the proud owner of both a medium-sized kangaroo (or a rather large wallaby) and a Dalmatian puppy. Both the kangaroo and the Dalmatian were purchased at a rummage sale outside of a Presbyterian church. I brought my purchases home, and ran to the backyard. I bounced around with the kangaroo, soaring high in the air, taking deep breaths of a cool October breeze. The puppy played around in the leaf-liter on the ground, and nipped playfully at my toes when I landed.
I thought to myself “This is probably the happiest that I have ever been.”
And then I woke up.
I will live each day in quest to find a happiness equal to that of which a kangaroo and a puppy provided in my dreams.