Every summer, my family takes a camping trip, usually to some national park in the western half of the United States. Several years ago, on one such trip to Yellowstone, my dad recounted a conversation he had overheard several years prior, as we were finishing up watching Old Faithful.
Dad: “I was watching this maybe fifteen years ago or so, and there was this family sitting nearby. After the show was over, the teenage girl turned to her parents, giving this loud sigh, and she said--” *whiny voice* “You’ve seen your stupid geyser, can we go now?”
For some reason or another, this line has been cemented in all of our memories, and has become something like a slogan for our camping trips. Since then, every trip we’ve taken, Ian and I have used that line: “You’ve seen your stupid [insert monument name here], can we go now?”
This summer, the line was brought up at the Grand Canyon. We had visited once before, ten years ago, but decided to visit again, as Ian and I hardly remembered the place.
We also visited Antelope Slot Canyon…
I use our annual camping trips to center myself; to bring my head back down out of the clouds. The trip, like many, was hot and exhausting, but also beautiful, amazing and fun. Visiting places like these reminds me of how outstandingly beautiful this world can be, and helps steel me for the rest of the year.
When we arrived back home, we had only a day with our dear lizard, Leo, before he passed on. I'm not presently able to go into detail, but while I didn't know Leo very long, his death brought to the forefront of my mind several things that I've been struggling with for a long time. I spent the majority of that week revisiting my concepts of mortality, death and meaning. I get stuck in my own head too often, and Leo's death took me away from the world for a little while. I think it's positive and necessary for us to spend time mourning and reassessing the various notions and facets of our lives we've built up over time, so long as we don't let it consume us for too long. In a world where we are constantly searching for reasons and meaning, we have to come to terms with the idea that there may not always be a reason, whether we believe this idea is true or not. I think it's good for us to try to build ourselves up, to center ourselves, to provide ourselves with things we can hold onto when we're struggling to work through these sorts of things. I believe our camping trip came at an ideal time.
My mother decided she wanted to introduce me to NCIS (the show, not the organization), so I settled down with my laptop on the little loveseat pushed up against the living room wall. She then proceeds to drag the rocking-chair directly in between where I’m sitting and the TV, sitting down and turning on the program.
Me: “Mom, I can’t see.”
Mom: “Move to the other couch.”
Me: “My computer’s over here. Why can’t you move the chair like a foot to the left?”
Mom: “Because then I can’t see.”
Me: “Well, neither can I!”
Mom: “Just move to the other couch! You’re the one who can’t see, anyways!”
Me: “I’M ON THE COMPUTER!”
Mom: “IT’S A LAPTOP! THEY’RE PORTABLE!”
At this point, my father became irritated enough to leave his work and walk in from the other room. He then proceeds to drag the couch I’m sitting on out into the middle of the living room, as I stare ahead in abject horror.
Me, softly: “You moved the couch.”
Dad: “You can move it back when you’re done.”
Obviously I couldn’t sit in the middle of the room, where anyone could walk up behind me. This is what I was trying to avoid by refusing to sit on the other couch. So, I scooted the couch back to its original position, and (when my mom stood to go get a glass of water) moved her chair a foot to the left. Dad stared at me for a long moment, sighed, and left the room.
Then when mom came back, she moved the rocking chair right back where it had been before, so it was all for nothing.
I have no idea what I'm doing.