If you’ve been reading my blog on a regular basis you will notice that there are a lot of adventures. Probably more than your average person.
It occurred to me recently that I am on a permanent working vacation. Having this epiphany has changed my attitude about my job; in a good way.
Who doesn’t mind going to work when you know that in just a few hours you will be on your mountain bike in the forest on a single track trail system that is both challenging and thrilling and usually empty. A trail system that is only minutes from the office.
Who can’t go into the office in the morning when they just walked a forest service trail accessed from their back door. A trail whose wildness evolves over time from trillium to glacier lilies, to shooting stars, to paint brush and lupine to beargrass. All of this happening in sequence while watching the huckleberries grow and ripen for the grand finale. Huckleberries for breakfast. Picking on the fly.
And the weekends are for floating the rivers which are full of water fowl, herons, osprey, eagles or climbing mountain peaks where the paint brush are bright red lipstick red. Where the views are three hundred and sixty degrees, where there are patches of snow in July.
Saturday mornings are saved for the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, so much local food. So many beautiful vegetables. The longest line isn’t for the lattes, it’s for the strawberries. Strawberries that are red, red to the center; with so much flavor you feel guilty of treason if you do anything with the strawberries besides eating them just as they are. But my favorite thing about the farmer’s market has nothing to do with the produce. It’s the community. The energy. Having to walk around groups of visiting neighbors to make your way to the vendor’s stand. Makes me smile. Then I’m in a group. Taking up space in the street as the group grows exponentially. If you time your shopping right, you can make it to one of the local breweries for a ginger wheat beer and more locally produced food for lunch.
Last week we took a quick two day road trip. We were never more than three hours from home, but found new places we’d never been. Pony Montana. Kind of a half ghost town at the foot of the Tobacco Root Mountains. We drove into the forest found a campground and set up our tent. After dinner we hiked a trail for about a mile looking for an undeveloped hot springs that we’d researched. It was bigger than a puddle, but not big enough to be called a pond. Maybe a little bigger than our pick up truck. Let’s call it a pool. We found a pool of water in the middle of a meadow with a log post fence around it to keep out the cows. It was 8:00 at night and no one else was there. We climbed in. The warm water bubbling up from the earth and then trickling over the rocks into the meadow. The rocks were slimy with life that thrived year round with the help of the continuous source of warm water. An oasis. All to ourselves. A before bed soak. Magical.
And that brings us to our book selection. Thanks to my friend Carol for not letting me not read this book. She’s been raving about it for some time now and even plans on reading it again. I started reading this on my kindle as a sample and thought this is not for me. But what I needed was the book, the actual physical book in my hands. I needed the social act of going into my local bookstore, seeing the book on the shelf, appreciating the cover, the title. Feeling the texture of the cover. As much as I love my kindle especially when traveling or backpacking; owning and holding an actual book is far superior. You see the cover every time you pick it up. You remember the title because it makes an impression on you. You can see where the bookmark is placed, how much you’ve read, how much is left. It’s like eating corn on the cob instead of out of a can. The book we are reading is “Braiding Sweetgrass; Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is a book about weaving our lives and the natural world into one. Living in a culture of gratitude and creating a reciprocal relationship with the nature that surrounds us. As soon as I finish this post I will continue reading “Braiding Sweetgrass”. I’m sitting on my deck in the forest as a thunderstorm settles in, a cool breeze sending the summer bugs on their way for a while. The echo-y deep sound of thunder reverberating in the Tin Cup drainage. The sounds of rain hitting the ground and the metal roof. A working vacation. This is the life I’ve created. I’ll take it.
More great books and epic adventures can be found at Wild About Books.