I started writing this from my cottage property, where I hung out for a long weekend of mixed primitive and glamping with my buddy Melanie. The irony of writing on my phone about unplugging is not lost on me.
Though I call it a cottage property, it’s really just a plot of land with a clearing with a fire pit where we can pitch a couple of tents. It got a major upgrade a couple of years ago when Mel and I built and installed a thunder box (a primitive open-air version of an outhouse).
Mel, like me, loves to camp. But it’s also important to her to take time to just be together with other women, alone. Though she loves her hubby dearly and does lots of things with him, taking time away is invaluable. It’s the same for him – staying at home with the cats, indulging in all the baseball.
Mel came with a list of things she hoped to accomplish – clear a better trail to the thunder box, move the woodpile from one side of the clearing to the other, mark some walking trails.
What did I want from the weekend? To just “be”. Go for a swim if it got warm enough. Maybe break out the compass and see if I could identify the edges of the property.
For the most part, just “being” won out. Breakfast not eaten until it’s nearly lunch time. Remembering that if you just sit back and look at the stars, listen to the howling wolves/coyotes and the calls of loons, time has no meaning.
We did some serious contemplation of the impact of humans on the earth as our trail to the outhouse became clearer each time someone walked back there (no specific labour involved). And we thought a lot about the unpaid labour of millions of women who for centuries were responsible for collecting wood and water. It was hard work to replenish a modest woodpile without the aid of power tools.
In the end, we mostly celebrated just being together in a peaceful space with some goofiness,
delicious food cooked over the campfire,
and a swim.
We are already starting to plan next year’s trip, maybe timing it so we can watch the Perseid meteor shower. If we go a bit earlier in the year, maybe there will be more loons, too.
Diane Harper lives and swims in Ottawa.