I’m sitting on the bench seat of our dinette in the newish class c motor home we bought recently. Not incidentally I’m in West Glacier RV park, contemplating a dark cloud hovering over the hills that surround us. I’m trying to remember what it is I had to finish or who I was supposed to contact or what online task I’m forgetting. Because there is something. Something that was plaguing me before we left Redding three days ago. Something that had me on edge and made me sort of rude and abrupt, definitely abrupt. It wasn’t finishing some online banking because that’s on my calendar and it popped up the moment I fired up the Mac. It’s not on the calendar because it’s so important, I couldn’t possible forget it. Except I have. As so often, I’m trying to figure out how my mind works. This has been a life-long and somewhat fruitless pursuit. What I can see is that I’m following the pre-road trip pattern that has been mine as long as I can remember.
Before we left Redding, an escape from heat and fire and Covid breathing citizens, I had driven myself and others crazy trying to get “things” ready and “things” finished. On my list of stuff to finish was staining the deck posts and planting a winter garden. Also getting my real I.D., changing all my passwords, and keeping dental and medical appointments. And most importantly doing whatever it was I needed to do to make it possible to wear shoes that aren’t sandals. I have endured three visits to a very nice podiatrist who has stuck needles into my right big toe and pared away the offending, ingrown nail that makes pressure unbearable. The last time was the miracle visit. At last I could wear sneakers. This ecstasy lasted until yesterday when a casual push on the nail shot pain up my toe to my teeth (a slight exaggeration). There is hope because a friend of mine introduced me to Altra walking shoes, which have a toe box, so wide and high that my toe floats, untouched and happy, in Bozo the Clown shoes. I will don these later and begin the hikes and photo shoots at Glacier National Park, a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. A place that everyone I know has apparently already visited and shared pictures and stories that make me smile gently as I writhe inwardly with envy. I don’t know what it is about this particular goal, but I started getting a clue yesterday as we drove from Spokane through Idaho and into Montana. California has magnificent and virtually every kind of terrain. Still, the magic of climbing into mountain weather, seeing autumn colors on the way up and dry rolling hills on the way down is hard to describe. For 29 miles or so we drove next to the banks of Flathead Lake, bigger than Tahoe and incredibly clean. That’s what happens when there are fewer people to mess it up. Right now I’m not too fond of people in general. That’s what comes of living in the county with the highest number of Covid cases in the state. I feel like we are escaping with our lives as well as our little dog.
This long introduction is leading to something important I need to relearn and retain. Why is it that at home I feel compelled, driven to accomplish? When we were trying to leave on Saturday and Mike was finishing up the last minute things he had put off until the last minute (a pattern I can’t understand even after 26 years), I cast about frantically and found things to keep me physically busy. Since the raccoon that likes to stroll through our garden had started up his nocturnal wandering, I erected a barrier of plant supports to keep him out. This was so I didn’t scream at my husband because, really, what difference did it make when we left? Mirroring my anxiety was Fiona, the eponymous dog of this blog. As is her habit she followed Mike around ruthlessly, hovering in the doorway as he finally dealt with correspondence which could have been dealt with last week (just sayin’). She perched in the shotgun seat of the motor home for hours as Mike loaded up his clothes (yes, he waited until Saturday morning to do this) and hitched up the tow car.
Somewhere around Weed we decided to “go with the flow” of the trip. Whatever happens happens and it’s all good. You may be thinking that it’s impossible for a type A nut, such as myself, to relax to this extent but you would be wrong. For example, I’m sitting at the dinette, surrounding by what I would characterize as a huge mess. There are dishes and supplies piled on the tiny counter. The table is almost invisible and the unmade bed hides the little dog from view. I’m taking pictures of this because people who know me will not believe I haven’t put things away and straightened up. In one picture you might notice the towel under the refrigerator. This is because we have a leak of unknown origin that soaked our rug the night before last and continued to leak when we set up camp yesterday. Mike turned off the city water that seems to have been the source of the leak so at least we know what system to examine. Not that the two, least handy, people in the world will be able to do anything about it. But we will have to find someone who can fix it and convey what we do know.
There is going to be rain so waking up the princess for a walk/run is a priority. Yesterday and, apparently, today, the dog is sleeping in on our bed (it’s hers, too) cocooned in the comforter and finally getting the sleep she missed at night when we disturb her slumber. At home she does not tolerate twitching feet or clearing throats. She flounces from the bed after issuing a growl that is half warning and half disgust, jumps down to the bench at the end of the bed and onto the floor where her personal bed lies. At home she goes on a nightly walkabout, securing the perimeter, having a drink of water and a snack, and finally returning to our bed. Fiona’s policy is to be the last one up but at home it’s only a few minutes after the humans rise. Here she will apparently stay in bed all morning. She didn’t voluntarily get up yesterday; around 11:00 I dragged her out for a walk. This attitude of laise faire is so appealing that I’m considering following her doggy lead and truly relaxing. I’m already halfway there.
I have discovered what will drive me from the cozy warmth and clutter of the RV—a senate hearing. Yesterday Mike had the hearings playing–loudly–on his iPad. Apparently his idea of escaping and mine are different. Time for another walk.
By the way, I finally remembered the critical task and I’ve decided I’m not going to do it. So there. Another step closer to really relaxing. As I recall from the last time I was on a long trip (Feb 2020), the next step moves me away from home mentally as if the fact that I’m not there gives me permission to quit feeling responsible for so many things. I suspect that some mental/spiritual healing needs to take place. Just now, watching an overfed crow try repeatedly to perch on a lovely, crimson sapling, I wondered how long he would try before giving up. I think there’s a metaphor there.