Living Unplugged

I’m not a very good blogger, because as one day slips into another the notion of writing another post tends to drop to the bottom of the priority pile, behind the more pressing needs of work, kids, laundry, gardening and errands. It also ranks lower than a morning bike ride, spiritual practice (already slipping more than I’d like) and a bit of quiet time to sit on our deck at the close of the day and admire the changing light and the birdsong.

Consequently, most of what translates into a posting when I do get around to it is not what I envisioned when I first began to blog. I don’t have enough will toward speed and timeliness to read the news and other blogs first thing in the morning and then add my commentary or particular spin to whatever seems to be the breaking story. I’m not disinterested in most of it and I’m quite opinionated on a lot of it —  just not in enough of a hurry. So by the time I have the time, the pressing issues of the day seem to suddenly be the pressing issues of the day before yesterday or even of last week, and any commentary seems a bit silly. What I end up with instead are these ruminations on life, writ small: my life, my perspective, the bits of drama that unfold in my family or work or even in my garden.

And now I’m heading out on vacation for two weeks. Part of the time I’ll be in Spokane, where my mother’s slowly unfolding Alzheimer’s disease tinges all our gatherings with the low-horizon clouds of dread for what is to come. For now, she is very much herself: lively, competent, mostly keeping track of things, and prone to statements like: “I’m going to be senile one of these days but I’m not senile yet, so quit patronizing me!” Which tends to be deeply reassuring.

The rest of the time we will be gathered in the marvelous chaos of an extended family (and friends-of-the-family) that has happened for the last eight summers at Priest Lake, Idaho. Upper Priest Lake is wilderness, and we’ve seen moose and bear, elk, deer, porcupine and eagles. Where we spend our week is a sprawling, casual network of very basic cabins, where we’d be too much on top of each other except that we’re mostly outside hiking, kayaking, swimming or reading. For some reason known only to the gods of procreation, absolutely everyone my generation who has kids managed to reproduce female only, so there’s a posse of more than a dozen girls ranging in age from two to nineteen. It’s all pretty perfect.

I won’t be taking my computer. Sometimes that’s the only way to really be on vacation: to vacate the electronic premises entirely and remember what it’s like to be unplugged for two whole weeks. There are other networks to tune into, after all: lake water, wind, sun, birdsong, sunsets, leisurely conversations. And a hike to the top of Mout Roothann, where I’ve long demanded that my ashes be scattered once I’ve slipped this mortal coil. My kids prefer the beach, so I figure that’s the best way to make sure they get to the top one day and see that 360 degrees of Rocky Mountain horizon. It is one of the most exhilarating and deeply satisfying vistas I’ve ever known.

No postings for at least two weeks. Happy vacating.


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