Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Tragedy of Going Nowhere

My parents are in the final-planning stages of their major camping trip for the summer and I'm so jealous I can hardly see straight. That might also be the result of inefficient caffeine consumption on my part, but maybe not. Because of my change in geographical and financial circumstances, the Scamp is in their driveway, not in mine, and except for a weekend in Minneapolis in July (for C's baptism), the trip from BG to Lincoln will be all I get to call Scamping this summer. It's tragic, in that overly-dramatic way that early mornings without caffeine can be. Especially when one wakes to thunder (good) and the unmistakable noise of Maeve waking up on the Evil side of the bed. Maybe the cats are getting stir crazy in 300 sq ft as well.

The parents are headed to Colorado for two weeks and then to California, to visit the California Babines. All of us were out in CA last summer (with K2 just eight weeks pregnant with C), but it doesn't work out for us to go this year. Maybe next year. But maybe next year, we can convince some of the California Babines to meet us halfway, say in Colorado or in Yellowstone. Because of time constraints, we've flown out there in the last few years, rather than drive, but I have to say that the thought of me driving through San Francisco traffic (with or without the Scamp) gives me hives.

In 2003, right after I graduated with my MFA from Eastern Washington University, my parents came out for the ceremony and then we caravanned to Yellowstone, where we met up with one of my dad's brothers and his family and my dad's sister and her family. We had a great time (my episode with the Buck Knife notwithstanding). But I'd like to repeat the experience, with more of the California Babines. I've got a good mental image of a plethora of Babine campers (and the Scamp!), different family groups sitting in lawn chairs around campfires, babies (of which there are many now) getting passed around to any open arms. Stories being told, memories being made that will be stories for the next time.

I don't know if this will happen. But part of the fun of camping is planning. Dreaming. Even if things never materialize, planning is all about faith. Faith that you'll get out of the driveway--and that you'll return. It's how I'm coping with not getting to camp this summer. I'm planning for three years from now, when I hope to have enough money to fund my dissertation trip to Nova Scotia. I'm planning for next summer, when I hope to have the time and resources to spend at least a couple of nights up on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Planning and dreaming will just have to keep me company until I can have my Scamp back in my own driveway, which is a great many years away.

So I will email my parents, tell them not to forget the tea (which they forgot on their practice run to Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago), remind them of what they should be bringing for me (since they're picking up I-80 here), and try not to be insanely jealous as they go about their own camper tasks to spend the night here. But the thunder is rumbling outside my window right now, the sky darkening at 10:41, and I'm trying not to think about what I would be doing in the Scamp in such weather.

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