Ian: “You know, we have a good system going. Dad knows about science, Mom knows about math, I’m good at computers, and Cal knows everything else.”
Dad and I exchanged dubious glances.
Ian: “Yeah, like English, grammar, marine biology, orcas, gays, LGBT--”
Me: *under my breath* “Gay orcas.”
Ian: “Gay orcas.”
Me: “Gay orcas are my legacy.”
Ian: “And gay penguins, gay dolphins…”
Me: “Cal, what did you write your term paper on? Gay orcas.”
Ian: “And LGBT orcas…”
Me: “You do realize gay falls under LGBT, right?”
Ian: “Duh. And gay otters…”
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.
I have no idea what I'm doing.