This morning, I got a response to yesterday’s blog. I showed it to Paul, and, over a breakfast of blackberry buttermilk waffles and pepper bacon, he read it aloud to the family. I’ll include it here:
Two years ago, at the beginning of all this financial crisis we all find ourselves in now, my wife and I closed both our businesses, got out from under our house, auctioned off 80% of what we owned and hit the road. We managed to pull together enough money to trade in the car for a 2000 dodge pickup with only 12K miles on it, purchase a small trailer to pull behind it and loaded up. We left March 15th of 2009 and drove through the western US for 4 months. We bartered, traded and traveled through Oregon, Cali, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada. It was an amazing journey.
When we arrived back in WA we stayed with some friends for a few months to get our feet under us and started a new life again. I think it’s important to shed the habits and rituals of life once in a while. It keeps things fresh.
When he was finished, Paul said, “Wow. That’s wierd. That’s the exact vehicle we’re looking at right now.”
Elsa said, “Maybe that’s a note from our future selves writing back to us to help us to get going.”
Paul added, “And we changed our names to Jeremy to disguise ourselves.”
I laughed as I peeled another section of waffles from the waffle iron. Then, I told the girls, “Run and get ready for church. Bring warm clothes for afterward. We are going on an adventure today. We’re hiking to Stein’s pillar.”
The girls scrambled down from the table. Dagne, 7, returned much too quickly in a summer dress and little girl heels.
“Did you pack for the hike?” I asked.
“Yep,” she said.
“Do you have a pair of tennis shoes?” I asked.
“Check,” she answered.
“What about socks?” A look of consternation crossed her face and she slipped off the stool to go look for a pair. She returned. I repeated the question. “Socks?”
“Check,” she answered.
“What about pants?”
“What about a jacket?”
Deep pathetic sigh. She slid off the stool again in search of the jacket. Shoulders slumped. Mouth turned downward. The weight of the world on her shoulders.
“I don’t know where one is!” she cried.
“Look for one!” I retort. And so on and so on. This repeats two more times with two others. Elsa, who turned 14 this week doesn’t report to Mommy anymore. Instead, she made sarcastic comments about when she grows up, she’s always going to be five minutes early to church and to everywhere she goes.
After church, we headed out to the trailhead, eating the lunch we packed. The morning was gray and overcast, unusual for a place that gets 300 days of sunshine. Nothing is more depressing than the high desert on a gray day. I feel cheated everytime I endure one. I think, “I exchanged the green valley for the sunshine. So …. where is it?”
As we headed up the trailhead, a sprinkle of rain splattered the windshield. At the tips of the rimrock, there was snow. We climbed for awhile and soon the snow was covering the banks beside us. A few minutes further and it was snowing heavily. Apparently, Prineville didn’t get the memo that Spring arrived a few days back. But then, that’s Central Oregon. Some people choose places to live because it gets four seasons. We get the four seasons every day!
The snow kept falling thicker and harder. Soon, we were slipping and sliding in feet of snow rather than looking at a few inches on the banks. I had this conquering attitude that in spite of the fact that I wore tennis shoes and jeans, Stein’s pillar would be hiked whether there was a foot of snow or not.
I was trying to follow my own advice about doing an adventure now. Instead, we ended up getting stuck. After unloading the kids (no sense in all of us tumbling over the embankment and rolling down the hill), and scrabbling for gravel and boughs and branches to put under the wheels, we managed to back down the hill. We gave up on Stein’s pillar and went to the campground instead.
The campground was also snowy.
We were all dressed for a dirt trail. We decided to brave it anyway.
Several minutes down the trail, I noticed Dagne’s socks. She had them on alright. They were the pretty thin white socks with lace at the ends that you fold down — the type little prissy girls wear with their Easter dresses? Yep. She had those on. And she had her tennis shoes on, untied. As I followed her little footsteps, I watched large clumps of wet snow flop in and out of the heel of her shoe.
We’re not going to last long, I thought.
Sure enough, a few moments later, “Mommy, my feet are cold.”
I remember when I wrote my first post. It took me hours and frustrated me from beginning to end. Everyday, it gets easier. Everyday, I find myself coming up with the words quicker, editing the phrases easier, and coming up with ideas without sweating blood. Now, writing is a habit. I miss it if I don’t do it. I find myself looking for ideas without thinking. It’s second nature.
I hope adventuring will follow the same pattern. I hope it will get easier as we do it more often.