Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 3: Pretending to be civilized, just for the day

Today, I am back at work.  I teach morning and evening in the classroom on Wednesdays, so I had to pull together my most civilized look so I didn't look so ragamuffin and "woodsy," standing in front of the class.  Threw on lipstick and mascara in the rearview mirror at stoplights (yes, I'm that person), because we have no mirrors in the woods.  Hair in a ponytail and my wrinkle-free skirt and shirt, dug out of my duffel bag.

I think I'm passable. 

I showered last night in the camp showers.  Hanging my shower bag on the hook outside the shower flooded all these memories - summer camp, staying at hostels.  Maybe that's part of why the rustic side of life appeals to me so much.  It harnesses this history of some really incredible times in my life. Times when I felt most connected with myself and my purpose.

Regular life is really noisy.  So many colors...so many sounds.  Doing strange things, like folding laundry.  I'll admit, it's probably more cognitive dissonance for me than most people.  But every.single.time I fold clothes, I feel like I just lost an hour of my life I'll never get back. 

And maybe it's because I'm at my best, wrinkled and dusty and sitting by the campfire? 

When I remove all those sounds and colors, I get to listen to myself more.  I get to listen to the children more. 

There are so few "nos" here.  Almost anything they ask, I get to say: "Sure.  Go ahead!"  Our biggest "rule" in the woods is you have to zip up the tent at super-human speed at night, so no mosquitos get in. The children are absorbing all that freedom - how much they just get to run around, climb trees, play in the dirt. 

If what we really truly need is the basics in life and lots of human relationship, than maybe it's not surprising to see how much joy we're finding in watching the fire cook our meat and potatoes...walking down to the river after dinner...building "forts" out of firewood. 

Looking around at my three little ones, exploring in the woods, I love how they look so happy.  Dirty.  But happy.

Apparently, we really needed this gear shift.