I finally managed to fit in a 2012 camping trip last weekend. We decided to go somewhere we hadn’t been before — Itasca State Park.
The problem, I discovered, with going somewhere new is you don’t know all the ins and outs of the area. The first out came when we went to our reserved, cart-in campsite. Past experience led us to believe that carting in would take us to a site far off in the woods, out of view of other campers.
But at Itasca, a cart-in site means that you park in a lot and walk 20 feet to your campsite, which is located in a camping metropolis, with no foliage to block out the other campers.
I don’t understand camping when you are piled on top of each other like that. You might as well stay at a hotel. And I’m sure my fellow campers loved it when I started yelling in my sleep because of a bad dream.
Anyway, I took many deep, cleansing breaths and tried to see the positive. It wasn’t difficult really, once we hit the trails and took the time to simply gaze.
But even the trails were more tourist-trappy than what I’m used to. Fortunately, we found a few out of the way paths. We saw many signs of beaver but no actual beavers.
But we did see swans.
Some even with swan babies.
In day-to-day life, I’m always looking for signs when facing choices and looking for direction. Like this sign — Java and Latte (the Brew Babes) thought someone must have posted it just for them.
My most recent dilemma has centered on how best to progress as a writer. I’ve had my eye on three published authors who teach classes and will coach writers and edit their work.
I’ve read each of their books, looking for the person who I think will best understand my work and what I want to accomplish, and who’s personality seems like the best fit with mine.
I’ve compared their class and coaching offerings. I’ve thought about this a lot and finally chose the one who’s class I most wanted to take. The plan was to take the class, get a body of work going, come out with a better understanding of the heart of the story, then hire the instructor to help me complete the book.
That was my well-laid plan, but when I went online to register, I discovered the class is full. And my heart sank. Now what?
Maybe I’m just not meant to write a book. Every step I take to move forward and get some help, a roadblock appears. Maybe the universe is telling me a big, fat “No!”
I want a door to open! A path to open up! For all the planets to line up perfectly and things to fall into a lovely pattern that says, “Come Maery! This way!”
Yes, that’s what I look for when it comes to my dreams, passions, and day-to-day life decisions and work.
But when I hike, I want wild entanglement. I want overgrowth and mystery. I want the possibility of being lost and discovering something new. I want hilly challenges, even though my knees are undependable and painful.
I breathe in deeply, trying to absorb that smell of piney, leafy, dirty decomposition, knowing that it brings about rich soil and new life. I want to be able to recall the depth of that scent memory during the long months of winter. I want to hold that feeling of rich life inside me.
So as I face a few disappointments and a few possibilities. I’ll think about what I do and what I enjoy when I’m hiking. An overgrown path can be a good thing. It slows you down enough to notice the things that you might otherwise simply hurry past, not recognizing the hidden treasures.