I refused housework and laundry again today in order to go “day-camping” with the kids and a couple of their friends yesterday. Packed up snacks and firewood and hot cocoa packets and chairs and sleeping bags to wrap around us and hats and mittens and my camping hammock. Enjoyed a gorgeous, sunny, cold autumn day on the lake with a campfire and four delightful teenagers. Really, I am not lying: the teenagers wanted to spend time with me! In the outdoors. With no phone service! And it was their idea!
I also managed to spend some time alone in my hammock, on a hill above the lake, wrapped in a sleeping bag with my face in the sun.
I started out reading, but soon I drifted into some daydreams and put the book down to follow my train of thoughts. Such as:
–I can hear the water plashing gently in the lake below. Plashing is a word I’ve never actually gotten to use before. I wonder who invented it? Were they just lazy? They figured they needed a word for soft splashing, so they called it plashing? You’d think soft splashing would have an extra S rather than a missing S (ssplashing).
–Speaking of words, I can also hear the wind soughing in the trees. I’ve never known how to pronounce that word. Is it like sighing? Sowing? Suffing? Same thing with the word “draught.” I always thought it was the British way of spelling draft. But Paul says it’s pronounced like “ought.”
–Somehow the fear of finding a dead body in a public restroom is magnified in an outhouse in a campground.
–When I toasted that hot dog over the fire awhile ago, I smudged a big, greasy, charred thumbprint on the hot dog bun. If I left a body in the outhouse and accidentally dropped the bun at the scene (because that could happen), would they be able to lift the fingerprint from it and catch me? Have fingerprints on food ever solved a crime?
–When I worked at the publishing company that published books and magazines about knitting and handcrafts, most of the employees were expert knitters. If they were wearing an intricate scarf or sweater that they hadn’t happened to have knitted, and if you asked them if they had made it, the proper answer was, “No, but I could have.”
–We had an old book of Christmas carols in our piano bench when I was growing. One of the pictures, a soft watercolor of shepherds on a hill, the Christmas star shining down on them, felt magical to me. The smell of the pine trees and the cold breeze on my face right now remind me of the feeling I used to get when I looked at that picture.
–Is that sound one of the kids creeping up on me? Are they about to dump me out of the hammock? And if they do, will I be pissed off or good-natured? I guess it depends if I land on that cactus I almost stepped on when I set up the hammock.
–Cactuses in the Colorado mountains: that’s just counterintuitive to me. Wait: cacti.
–Is this meditating? If so, it’s fun.
–This may be one of my greatest half hours in recent memory.
–I have to pee. But if I go behind the trees, one of the kids is highly likely to wander over and catch me literally with my pants down. I’d rather take my chances with the dead body in the outhouse.
–Is it irresponsible to fall asleep in a hammock in the woods? Probably not: what are the chances that a bad guy woke up this morning thinking, “Maybe I’ll head to the mountains today to see if I can find a woman sleeping in a hammock that I can rape and murder?” Pretty slim. Of course, there could be a bad guy who came up here today just for fun (a nature-loving bad guy?) who might stumble across me and take advantage of the opportunity. If I’m really worried about a bad guy, why am I snoozing in a hammock while the kids are enjoying themselves alone by the fire?
–Are the kids old enough to enjoy themselves alone by the fire? And why did Michael’s friend just scream in pain?
That was the end of my “meditating.” I headed down the hill (not hurrying too much; I wasn’t particularly worried, but felt that my role as a caretaker demanded I investigate) and discovered Michael’s friend limping in haste toward the lake while trying to reload his airsoft gun. Michael was hiding behind a tree, taking aim. The friend threw himself to the ground behind a rock. Michael charged him. I veered away, shouted to make them aware of my presence, and left them to it, rejoining the girls at the fire.
So much better than laundry and housework. Same with the three-hour nap I took when I got home. Still can’t get fully over the damn sinus infection. But life goes beautifully on, even when the house is filthy.