Monday, July 6, 2015

The runaway curse

There was a moment on Sunday morning when the music had replaced conversation in the car. I rested my head on the window and let my brain run through all the disconnected thoughts that it pleased. Right in the middle of reminiscing over the excellent weekend I had just experienced I noticed that the trees were starting to thin. My heart stopped for a second, and I knew I had just been hit with a case of the runaways.

During the previous month or so I attempted to make plans for the Fourth of July weekend. Strong contenders were Tennessee, the beach, Long Island, Florida and staying near the District. Eventually weather, funds, my poor planning skills, a lack of interested companions and a potential terrorist attack put a stop to all of those and mostly on a whim I took up an offer from a friend to go camping. Camping and spontaneity are two of my favorite things; sprinkle that with a few of my favorite humans and this seemed like the perfect plan was the perfect plan.

You know when things just come together? We haphazardly picked up groceries and packed the night before, leaving notes on the door just in case we forgot anything. We still forgot things, but we had the essentials. We left a little later than planned, but we left early enough. There were no decent campsites available when we arrived, but in less than an hour the perfect spot was vacated and we claimed it. We didn’t have enough rope but a previous camper had left some in a tree. It was little things like that over and over the entire weekend.

Not only that, but I was with three of the happiest campers. Let me just tell you what kind of people they are, okay! These are people with fascinating thoughts and incredible dreams. My friends are the kind of people who say, “Yeah, let’s go on a 13 mile hike. It might rain, but we can do it!” They are also the kind of people who get distracted from said hike by conversations with Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. They are the perfect people to get caught in a mountain rainstorm with because they laugh or splash puddles on you or tell you your hair looks nice in the rain. They are friends who sing, friends who are kind, friends who speak their mind. I love them.

I almost wrote that this was a pretty ordinary camping trip, just with extraordinary people, but that is a complete lie. This was a superior camping trip! We built an incredible shelter with just one tarp and by standing on shoulders to make a human ladder. We roasted an entire chicken for one of our dinners. We had a history geek and a bio medical engineer over as guests and they told us about their months long journey on the Appalachian Trail, including a story of being charged by a bear. We even discovered a random Dukes of Hazard themed restaurant in the middle of nowhere and sat in The General Lee.

I live a kind-of grown up life. I love my kind-of grown up life! I have a rad job. I have awesome roommates. I live near tons of interesting sites and activities. But weekends like this don’t let me come back all the way. How can I when the smell of campfire is lingering in my hair and my legs are aching to wander?

I wrestle with the painful yet satisfying joy of nostalgia. My heart aches for a few more mornings that promise a new adventure. I have a case of the runaways and I’m pretty sure they refuse to be cured; but salty air and crashing waves might be what take the edge off for now.

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