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Out of the Woods and Onto Rabbit Trails

"Journeys can be a respite from living"

All italics throughout this post are quotes from the book I read while camping in Vermont.  

The Child From The Sea by Elizabeth Goudge
Hello. 
My disappearance has been slow, like a struggling string of smoke that won't spark into fire no matter how much life you blow onto it, yet it persistly exists... just to sting your eyes? 
Quite lukewarm in actions, I've sorta just meandered out of the blogging world.

I'm sorry for that. I'm not apologizing. I'm simply sorry. 

And I'm not going to change my ways. I think the days of schedules for this blog are over. I have built new dreams and desires, but I shan't completely forget this lovely place or all your lovely blogs. 
Occasionally I will make an appearance to bless and be blessed.

I've gone roadtripping. What does one do while on the road? Mostly sing or cry. Or try not to make fatal mistakes. It's really a miracle that there aren't more wrecks than we have. It's magic how so many stupid people somehow together survive in such a dangerous fashion. 

I've taken a couple months off from work, to relax and to laugh, but to also remember how to write and to decide if I want to keep working. I will see many people. But I'm also just stopping at rest stops to think, read, write and stare. 

I left Montana about a month ago in a car that supposedly might not make it more than 100 miles. A few times I did believe I was on my last mile. Nevertheless, I purposely took several long routes to arrive at my first destination: some secluded Vermont woods.


"But Lucy was fearless because she trusted the world. How should this glory of which she was a part do her any harm?" 

This place was my destination, and now that I've left, in a way I'm now returning home, even if that trek back be double what it has been thus far. 

The first day I locked myself out of my car. I found an old car key for a jam, an orange straw and some twigs and broke them all trying to pick my lock. So. Down came my bicycle. Middle of the week out in the woods meant few people to be found. I rode over five miles until I found a man selling firewood.

I asked for help.

"Is she wearing a mask?" His wife inquired.
"She road her bike!" He replied. 
So he wore a dirty mask he found on his dashboard, then came and unlocked my car.

"Don't ever lock it again," he said. 

"I won't!"


"But I do not want to be a maiden," said Lucy. "I want to be a mermaid."
When I was little, Grampa told me that he once read through the entire Bible straight in a day. Or was it three? Just to be safe, I decided I would do it in three days.

But midway through the first day, I realized I wouldn't make it. There were too many distractions in the woods.  Or perhaps I was hearing the voice of God all about me, and couldn't bear to read His letter until after the visit was done. 

And so I read large chunks, but also skinny dipped and sunbathed until my skin became earthy colors.

I bicycled and washed my laundry in the creek and inspected various mushrooms and journaled. 

I made it through the end of 2 Chronicles, and loved the experience of reading the Bible book by book. I don't know if I can ever read the Bible just by chapters after this. And it's been tragic having to wear clothing again. 

Interesting tid bit. Did you know David and Saul both had wives named Ahinoam? Saw this only because I read 1 Kings in one sitting.
Enjoying a bit of honey comb after a quick dip in the creek 

"I do not see how respect, once given, can ever be lost. If you have ever seen the true metal in a man or woman you must believe that it is still there, however tarnished it becomes."

The first few days I didn't hardly do anything but read through scripture. I did try to make a fire, but failed.

One morning I went biking and came across a young couple with a flat tire. I offered them the possible use of my car, made sure they had a way to contact help, then biked away. On my way back, they'd changed the tire and so we chatted a bit. 

"Do you all want tea? I have mugs! I just need someone to start a fire." I invited them over. 

They needed to leave the forest. (We exchanged numbers). They told me they were good at making fires, but this forest had been the most difficult; very damp and cool. 

Somehow that inspired me to try anew. This time my attempts were successful! I boiled a pot of water and had tea and oatmeal for dinner and made an extra thermos for the next morning. And a moose visited just as the kettle whistled! 
If we do not think happily and hopefully of each other, we may hurt each other

It would be the biggest gamble he had ever taken on but he was at the age when a gamble is the breath of life, and it was air he wanted now, air and life

It would be the biggest gamble he had ever taken on but he was at the age when a gamble is the breath of life, and it was air he wanted now, air and life  

I ran away, you know, but it did me no good because the sin came too, fastened to my heels like a shadow, and a man cannot get rid of his shadow.

At the beginning of my stay in the woods I had an obsessive desire to find a four-leaf clover. I perused the voluminous patches, sifting through each clover and I found none.

I've learned with other things that often when I really want something and actively search for it I do not find it. But as soon as I let it go, something will lead me to then find it. 

Knowing hasn't really helped, though. Because then I think, well, I will find it. So why give up? Then lost is the joy and instead comes anxiety.

After three days I stopped seeing clover. 
And then I saw a large clover at the edge of a precipice. 
And then I sat down to dress a wound on my foot, and intuitive I thought, "there is a tiny clover beside me"

There were two.

In some ways this lesson felt like a reminder from God. "I do have blessings for you. Just be happy and enjoy the whole of life. When it is time, I will let you know."

Later that night I lay on top my car wearing my glasses and a prickly wool blanket. 

Desiring to know fear, I lay under a sky a lit by promises and discovered my first falling star.
Where Sarah laughs, I cried. Did God put those stars up there for me or someone else?

All the same I made my wish.
And I found bright hope, never fear

A day and a night, and all the others, made a struggling girl feel like a beautiful woman who didn't have to chase fear any more. It was good, so God seemed to say.

I thought of all the hard and wonderful things ahead, and knew this to be true: I must take care to not crush the roses while destroying the thorns of the flesh.

"You must be alone to feel the mystery of things, and princes are never alone."

"You are not alone now," Lucy said. "You are with me."

"I love you," he said simply. "I love you in the way that makes two people one person." And he kissed her.

Shep's Meadow 

I found this bike on Facebook market place right before leaving on my trip, and my brother built me a bike rack particularly for it! 

It came very much in handy. I hauled wood (such a terrifying balancing experience of a couple miles!) and trash left by other campers. I explored my area in every direction, and found many things. Including a small apple tree with the most delicious yellow-green apple ever devoured.

With the roar of a wounded bull he lurched to his feet, seized each boy by the scruff of his neck and knocked their heads together. But not too hard. They saw stars but not too many. "Wretched infants!" he groaned.

I spent one day gathering trash littered around my area. This jar piqued my interest. 
But the question of the day is this:
Did I eat what was found in the below jar?
I found clay in NC, and so I covered myself in it. Not sure if it did any good. Perhaps it pulled my skin off and left me with nothing but pimples? 

It was very fun regardless, and felt soothing.

It wasn't always fun camping. 
A couple days were overcast and cold. I cut my foot quite painfully. I was unable to eat much of the time. I felt anxious about work and certain life happenings. Some days were utterly a fight of blessedly wholesome moments and long seconds of horrid speculations. 

Making my bed, scrubbing my linen, making a fire, biking for miles, brushing my teeth; all these things helped give time and life to the right moments.


For a moment panic clutched at Robert's throat, but William and Old Sage ahead of him were the one fighting mad and the other as calm as when he sat in his box pew, and their fearfulness brought back his natural courage.
Anyone know anything about mushrooms. I wanted to eat them all. Who knows if I made the right decision to abstain. 
I didn't just read lots of the Bible. I also found myself reading as much of "The Child From the Sea" until it was too dark to see, which was the most unfortunate part of camping. Because darkness began around 6:30. 

I brought materials to write a specific short story that's humored my WIP pile for sometime. Instead I wrote two other short stories. The first was about an autistic man who falls in love.
The other is a fairytale about an old woman who tries to help her son and his family by selling produce at market. Except she can never remember to take people's money.

I still plan to write that other short story. Maybe I will do that while in New York.
 
The back of my car. The left side is my linen duvet and wool blankets scrunched on my flax mattress. So comfy and warm! 
There are two crates of food and dishes, linen clothing in the leather duffle and old suitcase, and the Tin Tin bag holds my books and writing materials.

The curtains are fastened with rubberbands, most of which I found on the ground on this trip. Because I hadn't thought through how to hang them before.

Perhaps if she were to sin in a manner that seemed to her unforgivable, and yet were to find herself forgiven and suffer in a manner that seemed unbearable and yet find herself surviving, she would know this sort of happiness.

I ran away, you know, but it did me no good because the sin came too, fastened to my heels like a shadow, and a man cannot get rid of his shadow

After the happiest week of my life I awoke hungry for people and starving for  conversation. I packed up camp and turned my phone back on. I cut the stay in half, for various reasons, and left my Vermont woods to find friends. 

I will go back. Perhaps. And do it for a month. Or forever. It is good to feel alive and glorious and beautiful. My brain woke up and everything was perfect. I could read and write again. That last bit is huge. 

I left the woods. 
I smelt like a sunbathed creek, thick honey and damp smoke, and vibrant leaves; I didn't want to shower ever again. 

I bought a chocolate milkshake from McDonald's, mixed two raw eggs into it, then drank it as I pondered all the rabbit trails ahead of me as I turned toward home. 


Washing all infection from my foot in New Hampshire beach

Comments

  1. I know a lot of us have been running away to the woods, because of the way things are going. Kudos to you for doing it. I would be terrified to stay/and or bathe in the woods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was terrifying in the best sort of way!!
      But yeah. The woods are so enticing these days... I think it's good to go, to remember how it feels to miss the things we love

      Delete

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