well... i'm back

I just got home and started unpacking from our eight day canoe trip. I started sorting through my clothes and then decided to throw them all in the wash.

When we were kids we'd moan with exaggerated relief when we got back to the car and sat in the soft seats, as if it had been years and not days since we had sat on something as comfortable. We'd be giddy with delight the first time we flushed a toilet back in civilization and gobble up all the candy we could get our hands on. Then, when we got home we'd fight over who got to take the first shower.

But today, while I was sorting through my clothes and decided they all smelled like woodsmoke I pulled out my towel and felt ashamed. Only this morning (was it only this morning?) I washed my face and dried it with my towel and lay it over a tree to air out and dry, happy with how fresh it smelled. I sat on the rock close to the water and watched the waves out on the lake, the sun just risen over the trees, and listened to the wind in the pines. My favorite time of day out in the wilderness is when I'm washing my face and brushing my teeth in the lake. I could sit there for hours. But someone or other usually ends up calling me to breakfast and I happily leave the lake for the cookfire and hot food.

And tonight I'm missing the campfire and the food that satisfies our growling stomachs, the glory of the full moon as it casts shadows around us, the wonder of seeing the first stars appear, and the lonely call of the loon casting an erie spell on the night. Today when we got back to the van, it was nothing more than a van, and toilets seem wrong and unclean and when I think of taking a shower I know it won't even compare with the bath I took in a cold, clear lake yesterday. And I am deeply saddened that, this morning, what smelled of wind and sun and rock and gave me such pleasure, tonight, back at home, gets tossed in with the other dirty clothes.


ccap said...