2:25 p.m. July 30, 2012
I want to be at home. I want to be at home RIGHT NOW. I am SO done with this trip.
That was my first thought when I woke up at Camp Site 11 in the Seven Lakes Basin in the Olympic Mountains Sunday morning.
It’s rare for me to think that when backpacking. I typically relish in waking up snug in my little tent, with the sun starting to brighten the bright green walls that kept me warm and dry during the night. I woke to the rustling of my campmates starting to pack up and get ready for the day. It was probably 5:45 a.m. I knew we needed to get up and not dwaddle as the organizer of the trip had a long day planned, which included an attempt to climb Mt. Carrie. I was going to be hiking back to the trailhead instead but had a long day too – an 11 mile-long hike out.
Having that nagging thought really bugged me though and made me a cranky camper Sunday morning. Usually I’m pretty bright-eyed and content, looking forward to the day’s adventure and enjoying the chores of a camp morning. I even had a restful night of sleep, only waking up briefly but didn’t need to heed to nature’s call. I thought my unusual sourness was brought on by feeling rushed, knowing we had to get up and get going soon. And I was upset with myself having these negative thoughts. Were these the last days of my time in the mountains? Did I not enjoy camping anymore? Was I burned out?
Wait, I thought. I hadn’t been in the mountains like this in six weeks. I hadn’t been out nearly as much as I had wanted to be this summer. And this particular trip I’ve been dying to do for years. What happened?
Then it hit me: I hadn’t spent a weekend at my own house in six weeks.
The previous few days I had been thinking about when I had been home last for a full weekend. Not just using it as a place to crash as I rushed between the mountains and the city, but actually spent time at home: Working in my yard, putzing around the house, spending a Saturday morning indulging in the familiar ritual of a big breakfast and a mug of tea or coffee while listening to Car Talk and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me on NPR. If the sun is out, maybe sit on my backporch with a magazine.
I counted back the weeks. It had been mid-June. It would have been longer if I hadn’t decided to bail on the June Mt. St. Helens trip.
I immediately realized what it was: I missed my gardens, my dirt, staring at my projects, really really really wanting to spend an hour or two detailing my car, finally getting the trim finished in my kitchen. While the anxiety I often experience about my gardens had been gone, I sort of missed it. That and I was tired of sneaking a peek in the backyard only to find 3-foot tall weeds and a willow tree with limbs that were threatening to envelope the house.
I am having one-third of my backyard excavated this August – trees cut down, stumps ground up, dirt moved – so I can install a new fence. Since the backyard was going to be torn up, I used that as an excuse not to maintain it. I thought I was justified. But now I think my inner Martha Stewart is gnawing at me.
I guess I have a little homebody in me. In typical fashion, I’ve been going -going-going-going-going since, oh, forever. I’m always doing things that I love to do while I’m also envious of things that other people are doing that I wish I was doing.
At the same time, I can’t wait to get that backyard done so when I do come home from my adventures, instead of hand-wringing over the next huge project, I can do the following: Grab a beer, poke around my raised beds and pluck a few cherry tomatoes to snack on, pick a few weeds, then plop myself down in the Adirondack chair located in the sitting area I’ve created, surrounded by fruit bushes and grape vines or wisteria, and relax.