Into the Woods

Wet dog

Wet dog

By the time you read this, I’ll be in the woods.

Off the Internet, paddling the Grass River as my Blackberry battery slowly dies.

Three books (a novel, a poetry collection, and a book of essays), my own ongoing poetry project and my latest knitting project (a sweater for Mo!) secure in Ziploc bags, waiting for time in the hammock.

Possibly waiting for sun, if this wet weather keeps up.

Last summer, at the bitter end of August, we snuck out to a nearby lake and camped for a couple nights for J.’s birthday. It pretty much rained the whole time. It was so wet that even the dog got tired of the damp and crawled up into the tarp-covered hammock with J.

But when I think back on those days, I don’t remember the rain. Or not as much as I would have thought. It was still an important time, an important break from the torrent of electronic signals that, lately, seems to be slowly wearing down my brain like a stream working on stone.

I mean, seriously, how much rapid-fired information can one take?

Lately, I’ve started reading more.

And by reading, I mean: focusing on a book, pushing back at the itch that tells me that I should be doing four other things at the same time as I’m reading. Re-training myself, it feels like, to look at words at a page, take a story in slowly, deeply. That’s all, that’s it.

And that’s a hell of a lot.

For me, for who I am.

Yesterday I finished Iris Murdoch’s big fat Booker-prize winning novel, The Sea, The Sea and, oh, my. Charles Arrowby, with all his obsessive yearning and neurosis is still with me; he had dinner with me last night (turkey tacos, which he would not have appreciated), he slept in my bed.

How delicious it was, to return to a book’s embrace.

It hasn’t been that long but, for many of us, it doesn’t happen as often as it used to and I miss that. I miss feeling that deep love for books, that rooted contentment. I miss not being so distracted.

And that’s what I get, out there, in the woods.

Days of focusing on one thing at a time. Slowing down. Letting the churning sea of my mind calm, then rest a while.

I need to figure out how to do this at home. I’m working on it; I’m even making process. But for now… see you on the other side, damp, dirty and renewed.

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