A Change of Plans

Sometimes—no oftentimes—life does not unfold to plan.

Take Monday.

The plan was to go camping in Pepa, to get out of the city for a night and shed the daily noise and commotion.

Instead, the day went like this:

Pepa was a bit sick—air was sneaking into her coolant from somewhere. To find the leak, we needed to pressurize the coolant pipes and to do that we needed the right tool. So Pepa couldn’t go camping.

We turned to Harry the Subaru. We loaded her with gear for sleeping and eating and drove to Rock Creek. The weather was crummy for February–rain showers and fifty degrees. We thought warm weather would mean sparse snow and decent camping, but there was plenty of snow up Rock Creek and the campgrounds were closed. At this point, tension in the car reached its zenith; nothing had actually followed the day’s plan.

IMG_6836.jpgWe almost turned around and slunk back home. But something—perhaps the puppy chewing at our wrists —made us stop the car and get out. We took off up a snowless ridge of ponderosa and burned-out stumps, climbing into a warm, face-peeling wind that took off all the excess around us and between us until all that was left was just us—bone, muscle, skin and pulsing heart. Soon we were high on the mountain and could see the grey meander of a creek up a nameless valley and the broad, snowy ridges beyond, and the world got a whole lot bigger than it was twenty minutes before when we were sitting in our cramped car and thinking that something, or someone, had conspired against us.

When the wind had purged us and we had walked far enough we turned around and watched Ollie (called The Terror or The Baby depending on his mood) chase pinecones down the mountain. We drove home, and instead of going back to our list, our giant to-do, we brought our camping trip home too.

We built a fire in our backyard and ate dinner by it. We moved our futon into the shack and the desk out and camped (might be closer to a glamp) right in the city. The rain pattered down. We fell asleep early.

In the morning, we drank coffee and ate egg sandwiches in bed. Our afternoon and night and morning became something different and spontaneous, an acceptance and adaption to change. If only we were this willing to bend into new shapes everyday, life just might be as dandy as a bowl of noodles.

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