On a trail run this week, I encountered two women blocking the narrow single-track path. “There’s a rattlesnake up ahead,” one whispered. “Coiled and ready to strike.”
Snakes on an Arizona trail aren’t unusual. But normally there’s no advance warning. I leap over them, the surge of adrenaline fueling me forward.
It’s not always like this.
My caregiving life involves planning: appointments, activities, lunch dates. But as a writer, in the increasing moments when I release outcomes to the Universe with all the magic of a child blowing bubbles in the wind, I can write fearlessly, submitting stories formerly challenged by self-doubt; joining a writing class that before had seemed an unattainable goal; summoning the courage to participate in a reading of my work.
A few years ago, my teenage nieces dared me to jump off the ferry pier on the island where my father lives. It was a long drop from wharf to water, the cold Atlantic churning below. Unthinking, I dove in.
Sometimes, life is like this.
“I’m looking into a trans-Siberian adventure next spring,” he announces. Having travelled the US on a Greyhound bus and across Canada on a train recently, my 86-year-old father’s ready to go global.
Russia? Alone? Dad is impulsive and lives to defy, leaving doctors and daughter scratching their heads.
No stranger to spontaneity, I’ve lived a life of rash decisions. Things changed in sobriety. I’m suddenly the responsible parent to a mother with Alzheimer’s and a rebellious teenage father.
To quell his wanderlust, I suggest a European river cruise. Three glossy brochures later, he was sold. But none of his friends was up for the trip.
Cruises aren’t my thing. Cramped in a tiny cabin? A boatload of seniors? Cringe-worthy.
Pushing aside preconceptions, I’ll accompany him on this trip of a lifetime. Because in the end, no one should be alone.
It’s the first summer in years we won’t be at camp, and I have to wonder: Is it really summer without camp?
In Maine, we say we’re going “upta camp”—what flatlanders would call a lake house, cabin or cottage.
Enjoyed by family for four generations, camp is my rock. The place where I embrace the extended step-family who grounded me so many years ago, offering a semi-normal life with a brother, grandparents, aunts, nieces, another mother.
Camp is sunrise on the deck with my brother; tubing behind the jetski; chocolate donuts and Orange Crush; kayaking at sunset. Camp is where I snuck out as a teen to meet the boys. And it’s where I unwittingly began writing morning pages two years ago.
At camp, we undock our worries and let them drift away.
Camp is a state of mind.