Transitions are hard. Coming home from Sandy Beach Lake Campground is probably one of the hardest transitions I have ever had to do. It has taken me almost two months to be able to sleep six hours straight. I kid you not. One might think this is from all the city noise I now hear and yes, that is partially correct. But more importantly, it is about what I don’t hear! I don’t hear owls or whippoorwills at night. I don’t hear the ten pump sounds of the least bittern! I don’t hear the mice scurrying up the sides of the tent trying to figure out if they can hold on long enough to chew through the no-see-um netting on the vents! I don’t hear wolves howling in the wee hours of foggy mornings! I don’t hear pinecones hitting my tent walls! I don’t hear porcupines talking to each other as they discuss what this monstrosity is in their pathway as they make their way through my campsite. I don’t hear any part of nature at all; no bull frogs, no tree frogs, no grouse drumming, or woodcocks peeting!
When I get up in the morning, I no longer have to walk the equivalent of two blocks to go use the facilities. I no longer have to grab my gallon and a half aluminum pot and walk over to the hand pump to get enough water for the day. I no longer have to grab my solar shower bags and check to see that the water is warm enough to use in my portable shower house since I didn’t have running water or electricity there. I no longer have to figure out which dehydrated meal to prepare or if I was lucky enough for one of the campers to share some fresh crappies with me, I no longer have to make sure my well water is cold enough to store them in the cooler for a day or two. No, I no longer have to worry about what day of the week would be best to run into Soap N Suds to do laundry, run into Snow’s in Mercer to pick up supplies or whether or not I should make an extra run over to Clear Lake.
I no longer get to anticipate the lighting on the lake, the smell and sounds of the winds, or watch the radar and listen to the weather radio diligently so that I might inform campers of what is headed our way. I no longer have to time my running to the car in between two mile lightening strikes or sideways driving rains.
Yes, transitions are hard especially when one’s heart and soul has found their home and it’s not where I am at currently! It’s weird how you can be somewhere that you have lived for years – as in the last twelve years but feel like a stranger in your own house. How getting up in the morning is now more of a chore than when you were living in a tent with what most people wouldn’t even call the basics of home. How even using your own washing machine and dryer feels awkward.
It’s brought about a lot of internal reflection and what it has shown me is that even more now than before, I do not belong in the city. I belong where I can get up and go out and talk with the critters or see what Mother Nature has been up to during the night. I belong where I can check the footprints in the sand to see who visited me while I was sleeping. It has made me realize that I have never belonged here in the middle of people. While I love people, love learning who they are, what they are about and their dreams; my heart really yearns for that time when I can sit along the shore listening to the waves, listening to the eagles and osprey, and watch the sun set through the hazy pollen of the pines as it drifts slowly down past the horizon.