Sunday, August 27, 2017


The Fraser River’s inexorable and, today, measured, flow to the sea mesmerizes me.  Across the opposite bank, the Cariboo Mountains oversee its progress, and a small white glacier surveils the area.  The surface of the water is glass, to this unpracticed eye; the forest along the riverbank finds its twin in the stillness.  Were I more of a student of nature, I would know whether the almost imperceptible blemishes on the surface that betray the serene river are fish (and what kind) or insects or even undercurrents.  The reality is I think of the bumps as eggwhite clumps that might mar a smooth sponge cake.

This vantage point materializes quite by accident.  Only when I scan the campground map to locate our site do I realize that our campsite belongs to the row that abuts the Fraser.  The foliage on our assigned site obscures the river.  Five campsites down, however, that’s not the case.  Huge bonus:  the site is empty, lonely, now that the gentleman who had been sitting on the picnic table has left.  Now, it’s my turn.  I stand, transfixed, in disbelief at my good fortune.  Nothing else needs my time.  I can stay here as long as I like.  For today, and a few precious weeks to come, I have pulled the plug on my life.  I’ve powered off—

·  obligations.  Creative ideas, reports, phone calls, plans, liturgies, meal prep, shopping, cleaning, sorting, laundry—relegated to irrelevance.  For now, I enjoy just being.

·  complexity.  Issues of social justice, politics, spirituality, connections with friends—on the back burner in this Limited Internet Service environment.   For now, I focus on those around me at any given moment.

·  convention.  To travel for three weeks in our 1978 camper van, I left anything good at home.  For now, my wardrobe choices can withstand rain, mud, wrinkles, stains, cold, heat, neglect, prolonged activity or indolence; maybe not scrutiny or a "must have" list, though.

·  sweating my appearance.  For now, I’m okay with hair that’s endured rain, hoods, hats, a few nights’ sleep, little brushing, zero washing.  Instead, when I look at the photos and want to wince, I’ll focus on the freedom and the adventure.
Restored, from being "off" and showered.

In an unexpected paradox, powering off has enabled me to charge up.  As we drive the scenic highway from Terrace to Prince Rupert, eyes wide in awe and mouth open in astonishment at the remarkable landscape, I remember that, in my old clothes, in an old vehicle, with my true self and my better half, I am content.  What happens when I reboot my life?   The calm and simplicity of my unplugged weeks will, I hope, continue to grace my days.

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