Tuesday, August 13, 2013

in the forest, part 1: privilege

lightning lake, manning park
british columbia

dutchie, the tent trailer that housed all 8 of us. bugs not allowed.

our camp site

there was a campfire ban. so we did our best roasting marshmallows on hot coals. we didn't suffer.
but we burnt a batch of s'mores.

i am convinced that faeries live here.
rainbow bridge over lightning lake

i would say that what we did was a whole lot of nothing. but that's not true at all. 

in the forest, we were in the wilderness with access to only  communal plumbing conveniences (hurray for toilets and showers!)  but we were entirely without electricity. so   there was almost always work to do: set up, clean up, cooking, eating, hiking, and parenting. hard work. good work. work we did together: as 2 families, and 1 tribe.

in the forest, our little tribe co-existed comfortably together, through silence and conflict, through play and rest. our fellow moms helped us parent. their children played with ours. our friendships were rekindled. the wife and i got to sit beside each other for 2 seconds together, a small miracle in and of itself. we made merry with the lot that we brought with us. and what we brought was more than enough. 

in the forest, i had no choice but to do one thing at a time. if it was my job to do the dishes, it was a matter of walking to a sink, and taking it one dish at a time. there was no music or tv in the background. rarely was there a babe to manage. there was just the dishes and the walk back to camp. one thing at a time: an idea i have taken so long to rediscover, it's almost novel.

in the forest, i saw wonder and awe in my littles' eyes, at every turn. i saw the boy work to conquer his fear of a forest full of bears. i saw the girl discover independence as she climbed on to a floatie she brought into the lake herself - without fear or hesitation. i saw them both learn to explore the world around them freely, fostered by their imagination and rarely hampered by their limits.

in the forest, i felt whole. i was completely present. i missed nothing and enjoyed everything.  i took the time to be still. and to watch. and to feel myself holding my breath.

(i didn't even let the unusual overly abundant bugs cramp my style. i was on their turf, after all. and there was drinking. and dancing. as in, i made up truly geeky swatting dance moves to bat the buggerly buggers away. and yet i was still their banquet. but there was drinking and dancing. and the oh-my-the-stars that actually lit up the sky.)

it was such a privilege just to be there.

we are now back to our regularly scheduled programming. it's just us and the kids most days, with our working lives thrown in to break up the madness and the bliss of the parenting hours. 

i am holding close the peace i savoured every moment i was in the forest. i am resolving to do just one thing at a time, multi-tasking only when absolutely necessary. i am calling upon myself to relish the passing of time and most importantly, to find everyday peace in being extraordinarily present.

we spent 4 nights and about the equivalent of 4.5 days in the forest. i have so much more to tell you about. this is the first of 4 "in the forest" entries. 

i'll be back tomorrow with "in the forest, part 2: deer papparazzi."

now, onto the countdown-to-bedtime job that i absolutely love.


  1. Like my favorite book I leave this just for me before bed. It ends my day. Thank you for taking me with you on this beautiful ride. I could use some of that wild woods antidote. Today was a tough day, so tough I cannot find the words, so instead I will savor yours. Thanks again.
    Onto Part Deux...

    1. oh dear. i'm so sorry to hear that you had a tough day. here's hpoing that today is better. and i am glad that somehow my words offer you a bit of a distraction. *big hugs*!

  2. i love the way you use your words to describe such experiences! when we went camping (or cabin) in a state park earlier this year, i felt the same except with the scenery being less than magical but still acceptable. i would love to go to the forest any day!

    1. thank you for your kind words, lynet! just being outside is pretty awesome.... especially for the express purpose of just being as far as i'm concerned! believe me, i had no idea we were even going anywhere near that majestic. all was a surprise. :)