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Published: August 8th 2020
"The mountains are calling and I must go."
It's packing day here at the Erickson-Bennett household. There's a new-to-us Honda Odyssey sitting in our drive, which we've been outfitting as a sort of drive-by-night RV. I took out all but the front two seats and built a wooden futon frame for the back, where we can sleep for a few hours, or even camp for a night, as we see fit. Underneath the frame there's plenty of room for the suitcases, bins full of cooking gear, and misc extra stuff that Sally has been organizing, and we can fit three coolers in the back dropdown well where the third seats would normally disappear. We'll have plenty of options as we drive, from driving straight through to stopping for a few hours rest at a truck stop to spending a night at a campground, an Air BnB, or a hotel room, depending on where we are, how we feel, what we want, and what we need. Now to decide on our ten items of survival gear. I'm arguing for the gill net. Sally thinks we should opt for extra hooks and line for pole fishing. And
while I want the bow and arrow, Sally prefers the up-close-and-personal infighting of a good fixed-blade tactical knife with a serrated edge.
Yes, we have been watching Alone
And that's a bit how this trip feels. We're heading out to the mountain states of the US of A, to Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, and who knows where else along the way? To scope out the area. To get a feel for who lives there. To view some possible landing places. It feels really big, venturing out into a great unknown, into a country now held hostage by either an invisible infectious particle or a hyped-up corporate-media narrative, depending on to whom you speak. We're not quite sure what we'll encounter in this seeming wilderness, or what changes we'll see even in the time we're away. The river is moving very quickly now, as that fabled Elder said. It's all we can do to maintain our centers of gravity on a daily basis. Which reminds me: we should probably bring an extra military-grade tarp in case we want to fashion a kayak. And a second air horn in case of bears.
Why are we going? There are plenty of so-called "rational" reasons we might list, and I'll no doubt speak of these as we proceed, but in the end, those reasons feel mostly like after-the-fact justifications meant to calm our egos. The non-rational reason is that we've both felt "called" to the mountains for some time now, and so we're heeding that call, and heading that way, to see if we can find out what the calling means. It might mean big changes. It might not. But as I often say to Sally, the gods can't thwart our plans or aid our quests if we don't first set foot on the path and make a move. So we're setting foot. Right now, that's really all we get to know.
So here we go, knives and arrows in hand, taking the step we feel called to take, with no certainty of route, itinerary, or landing places at all, alone but together, into the great unknown. We'll know when we get there.
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