I can get profound about the outdoors. Stuff like camping means man versus nature, each at the most extreme capability. But I can also get pretty mundane about the activity with suggestions about lighting a fire, cooking fresh-caught fish, and surviving a cold and rainy night. While I’m at it, I am in the zone—at my most relaxed and in tune with myself. I hate to return and it is always a difficult transition. Even if I am washed out and exhausted after a few days in a driving rain, I am loath to get back to normal, whatever that is.
I come home in a renewed state of being most of the time. I put away my gear and stow my backpack. Then I spot a pile of junk mail by the front door. I have no desire to review even one item. It will spoil my mood. I put the pile with the others that have accumulated for weeks on end. I have been ignoring them to the point where I don’t even throw them out. It now will fill an entire trash bin. So what do I do?
I have my own compact shredder, a home model I bought for a song on this web site. It was a very practical impulse decision. This is the time to get it grinding away on all those worthless envelopes and their contents, begging me to buy this or that. Sometimes, the vendors even get it right and I receive some kind of discount offer on camping gear. I actually saved one that was proposing a waterproof tent for those occasional drenches and downpours. Any camper can have a washed out weekend.
I set the flyer aside and get to work on the rest of the piles, one by one. Each one is devoured by the hungry shredder that gets rewarded again and again for some very fine work. Then I toss the entire array of stuffed plastic bags: out they go into the huge bin in the alley. I can now get back to my life and start planning the next trip.
As time goes on, I vary where I want to go. Sometimes, I get in the mood to visit a favorite place, near or far, even if the forecast is inclement weather. Nature calls, so they say, and I don’t mean to the bathroom. Today, I am stuffing a rain poncho and plastic tarps into my backpack. Suddenly, I see that flyer saved from weeks ago lying on the dining room table. I take another look and give it some thought. I think I am going to buy this tent thing that folds up neatly into a tiny bundle.
I can’t wait for it to arrive. It is guaranteed to save any camping trip from the disappointment of bad weather. I will be ready to roll rain or shine.