Let the record show that I have officially reached hunter status.
Since we had no school for the entire week of Thanksgiving this year, I hunted with Dad 9 days straight! This means my 6-year-old self was rudely awakened from my warm and cozy bed at 6:00 a.m. each morning. Still in shock, I played dead while Dad struggled to dress my limp body in thermal underwear and blaze orange outerwear. Once I could pry open one eye, I kissed mom goodbye and then stumbled out into the cold, dark woods to draw, color, play Sneaky Sasquatch, and occasionally glance out the window to look for deer.
It was everything… peaceful, beautiful and centering. Sometimes dad would even allow us to return home for a nice warm lunch prepared by momma dearest before we would trek back to our headquarters and continue the hunt until the woods were just as dark as we found them pre-sunrise.
Despite COVID putting a damper on making cabin memories, life felt good in that deer stand. So, I soaked up every moment of having Dad to myself, particularly since Genesee has threatened to crash this party next year.
And even though mom isn’t a good hunting sport like me, she seems surprisingly supportive of dad building a bigger deer stand so Genesee can join us…. the lengths mom will go to chase her dreams of reaching sleep-in status.
I guess we all strive for our own symbols of status, or perhaps we just take different paths on the quest for peace and quiet.
T’was a month before Christmas, And all through the town, People wore masks, That covered their frown. The frown had begun Way back in the Spring, When a global pandemic Changed everything. They called it corona, But unlike the beer, It didn’t bring good times, It didn’t bring cheer. Contagious and deadly, This virus spread fast, Like a wildfire that starts When fueled by gas. Airplanes were grounded, Travel was banned. Borders were closed Across air, sea and land. As the world entered lockdown To flatten the curve, The economy halted, And folks lost their nerve. From March to July We rode the first wave, People stayed home, They tried to behave. When summer emerged The lockdown was lifted. But away from caution, Many folks drifted. Now it’s November And cases are spiking, Wave two has arrived, Much to our disliking. Frontline workers, Doctors and nurses, Try to save people, From riding in hearses. This virus is awful, This COVID-19. There isn’t a cure. There is no vaccine. It’s true that this year Has had sadness a plenty, We’ll never forget The year 2020. And just ‘round the corner – The holiday season, But why be merry? Is there even one reason? To decorate the house And put up the tree, When no one will see it, No-one but me. But outside my window The snow gently falls, And I think to myself, Let’s deck the halls! So, I gather the ribbon, The garland and bows, As I play those old carols, My happiness grows. Christmas ain’t cancelled And neither is hope. If we lean on each other, I know we can cope.
Genesee’s first visit to the dentist was supposed to be all fun and games…. wear some cool sunglasses, meet Mr. Slurpy and make friends with all the other tools, get excited about becoming their newest regular customer, etc.
But there was a tragic turn of events when Genesee unknowingly entered the office with a dead front tooth accompanied by a cavity, and then left the premises with a return appointment for a root canal.
Me, on the other hand? I don’t mean to brag or anything, especially given the possibility that my 3-year-old sister may forever be traumatized by the dentist, but let’s just humbly say I’m still a proud member of the no-cavity club, I’ll likely be spotlighted on their customer wall-of-fame, and I’m probably in the running for their all-time-favorite rule-following patient.
But let’s not rub that in Genesee’s soon-to-be-sore face.
Because 2020 has been an ugly year in too many ways, we decided to break out of quarantine and go in search of some beauty.
3,820 miles, 1,344 pictures, 9 days, 6 states, and 5 national parks later, we found it!
We traveled across the country in style and socially-distant fashion with our Melbourne Memory-Making Moblie. In the end, we visited Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Parks… Not only did we find how beautiful America can be, but we also discovered more of ourselves. The peaks helped us to see farther while the valleys pushed us to look deeper. We let go of heavy burdens and gained new perspective. We felt small, but so connected. We walked cautiously along earth’s rim while living on the edge. And even though we were new to the off-beaten paths, we never felt lost. Some of the credit goes to Dad, of course, who is talented with a map, GPS, hiking boots, and a 24-foot RV. But most of the credit belongs to the National Park System, for preserving the wonderment of nature’s amazing creations and for inspiring a greater wanderlust within my soul.
So, to the remaining 418 national parks in the United States: I’m coming for you!
In case you missed our smoke signals, you should know that we made it back to Hayward, just in time for the humidity, mosquitos, glow parade, and fireworks. It was a blast, especially playing with Cora, Colt, and the Byom kids! Even though we couldn’t barhop for kiddie cocktails due to the pandemic, the great outdoors and open water never disappoint, especially since I was spared the swimmer’s itch that other campers had to endure. Still, itchy or not, we made good s’mores and snores and memories!