I spent the weekend in the woods. Maybe not really “going walden” but certainly headed in that direction. It was a holiday of sorts, a get-away from my often hectic and over-scheduled life. It was amazing, restorative, thought-provoking, and, most importantly, fun. I disconnected from technology leaving behind my laptop, connectivity tools, news feed, and all social media. While I did bring my cell phone that was for practicality reasons and I chose not to take or make any calls all weekend. What did I do?
I laughed more in those 48 hours than I believe I have laughed in the last three months. We're not talking polite chuckles or giggling either. We are talking deep belly laughs, huge guffaws with a group of women all similarly roaring with laughter. We were the noisiest campsite there and we were not constrained.
I reconnected. Many of the women on this trip are friends who I adore. They are fascinating, interesting, vibrant, intelligent, amazing people. But we are all so busy with the demands of our modern lives that we promise ourselves in passing we will get together for that lunch or tea or whatever. And yet somehow we don't manage to find the time. This weekend we had nothing but time.
I ate very well. Hats off to Colleen, our organizer and her sous chef, Natalie. With four gluten-intolerant campers and one vegetarian out of nine women they pulled off a tasty, delicious, satisfying menu for everyone. They did it without going overboard either. It was simple, delicious, and unfussy. While we all know food tastes much better around a campfire, I am a firm believer that it also tastes much better when it comes from whole foods. Our menu was dinner: taco bar, breakfast: scrambled eggs and fruit, lunch: veggies and dips with fruit and gluten free cookies, dinner: cuban beans and cornbread with gluten free smores (gotta have those), breakfast: leftovers and fruit. Yes, there were M&M's and chips and other foods there as well, but the menu was predominately simple, whole foods.
I reconnected with nature. I had forgotten how restorative this is for the soul. Yes, I go out in my garden, yes I take my dogs for walks through the woods, yes I look for opportunities to put my feet in the dirt. But this was in the middle of a gorgeous state park with no distractions, hardly any traffic, and a quietude that just does not exist in my backyard. There was wildlife all around us (we were fortunate to have Helen with us who is a birder and quite knowledgeable) and we saw deer, turtles, alligators, birds, bunnies, interesting bugs and more. There was a lot of tree hugging (literally and figuratively) going on; I even had the opportunity for a most delicious, restful nap under a sprawling tree with a light breeze.
I remembered my appreciation for the basics. Sleeping on a mat on the floor reminded me that I am fortunate enough to have a bed at home (and a quite comfy, large, well decorated one at that). Having a public restroom available I was appreciative for the running water in the toilets, the sinks and the showers. I was appreciative for all of the tax dollars and use-contributions that pay to maintain the state park system. I also appreciated the quiet, the lack of distractions and the ability to slow down, even if just for that moment.
This is part of holistic living. We need to find that balance; to find those moments in our lives that speak to us. To be more than a particular aspect of our being — wife, mother, daughter, committee-member, professional, caregiver, insert-your-hat-here. To let go of some of that, even if just for a short while, and plainly be ourselves.
And how was your weekend?