I’m going to tell you something you already know. Life is stressful sometimes. My days usually start at 6:00 am and end at 11:00 pm and there isn't much room for relaxing along the way. Between getting kids where they need to be with school, and football practices, and gymnastics, and other evening events, working, making dinners and doing other housey stuff, and finding a few minutes to work on my novel, there are some days when I feel completely spent. I know I’m not alone; millions of other people do it every day. It’s just how it goes.
I decided last week that I needed just 2 days. Just 2 days in a cabin away from all people, from the internet, from everything. I wanted to relax, and read, and write, and hike. Just me and my dog. "It'll be lovely," I said. "The world can live without me for 2 days," I said. So I found a cabin near Ashland, Kentucky, and made my reservations.
I woke on Thursday morning at 6:00 am, got my daughter to school, dropped off some stuff they'd need at their Dad's house, went back home, got my son up, printed off some things he needed from the internet for a school project, got him to school, dropped off more stuff at his Dad's house that we'd forgotten about. Then I got home, packed my bags, loaded them up and headed out with Raisin my dog in tow.
Then I exhaled.
The route assigned by the GPS took me down the Appalachian Highway, a road I hadn't been on since high school. Every year growing up, we used to make the trek to my grandparents' house in West Virginia via this road. Happy family memories came flooding back unexpectedly; I hadn't even made the connection that this was a road buried deep in my road trip memory. I passed a road called "De La Palma." My brother and I called it "Louie De La Palma" and cracked up every time. I know, it’s not that funny. We were big fans of Taxi, what can I say. I passed lots of other fun landmarks along the way, and I made more dumbass inside jokes in my head.
The weather was beautiful, and the dog had her head out the window as we zipped down the road, curving, and winding our way through the foothills of eastern Ohio. We passed quaint farmer's markets and gas stations where it was still cheaper to pay with cash. Life was grand. I was on my way to relaxing the shit out of my 2 days in a cabin.
Within the first hour of me getting settled in, I locked myself out of the cabin, the school nurse called to say she thought my son had a concussion, and I dropped my phone in a muddy creek while trying to take a picture. Yay for relaxation!
A little later, my dog got herself stuck under the cabin somehow, so I had to cut her free from her leash, then try and find a Walmart or store somewhere to get her another one. I drove 20 minutes to the nearest one, and while I was there, I heard them announce on the PA system "If you are a Walmart employee, and you received a 15 year certificate today, please make sure you picked up the right one. Thank you." So not only have you been working 15 years at a Walmart in Ashland, Kentucky, someone swipes your certificate to boot. I paid for the leash and left. My life was pretty awesome in comparison.
The rest of my time alone consisted of meditation, photography, nature hikes, writing, and campfires. By Friday afternoon I actually felt relaxed, and when I got the text that it would be $300 to fix my daughter’s broken school laptop, I was all “whatevs, yo. I saw a wild turkey today.”
Saturday morning, I got up early and headed back home to the Land of Grownup Stuff, refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged.
So what did I learn in 2 days?
I learned that somewhere in Wayne National Forest, the Easter Island head has a little brother.
I learned that Ron Webb really, really likes this rock.
I learned that Kentucky has some amazing sunsets.
I learned that when you drink wine out of a red solo cup, it’s really hard to determine what a typical pour would be, so you kind of end up drinking the whole bottle.
I also remembered a few things.
I remembered that when s’mores and campfires are involved, it really is all good.
I remembered that even the most trivial and ridiculous childhood memories deserve not to be forgotten.
I remembered that lakes are still amazing, serene, and teeming with life.
I remembered that love is everywhere just waiting for you to notice it.
I remembered there is no substitute for the feeling of moss under your feet.
I remembered that I am still boss at finding 4-leaf clovers (and I really am a lucky so and so.)
I remembered that dog really is man’s (and woman’s) best friend.
And finally, I remembered that the world really is fine without you for a few days.