That’s what I am doing. Stumbling and bumbling along. I nearly lit my face on fire the other morning, my feet are freezing, I cannot find my other socks, I keep forgetting to wash my face, my nose is always cold, and my hair supply bag with hair bands, clips, and headbands broke open. My blueberries sprung some sort of leak into the cooler which warranted a full cleaning, rinsing and repacking. I feel like this is the first time I have ever camped. I feel out of sorts, off my game, out of it.
Conversely, I slept great last night. I went for a nice soak at the hot springs, got warm down to my bones, came back to camp and wrote. I read a bit in bed and fell asleep. Naturally, I had to get up to pee, but I did that nearby. From the sleeping bag, it feels like it is subzero freezing temperatures out side, then I go out in my long johns and a jacket to pee and it feels fine. Well, not fine, but I am not shivering and I cannot see my breath. It seems my perception of cold is changing. Must be due to age. Shit.
Anyway, in homage to my buddy Tommy, I made Jasmine rice for breakfast. I put in coconut flakes, dried fruit and brown sugar to make it more nutrient and flavorful. This is my first run with the whole camp stove set up. Well, I did light it off for a practice run while at my old house. Read the directions, get a feel for it. That went fine. This morning, I inadvertently left the valve open when I hooked up the little gas tank, so when I lit it off there was a ball of flame that came right at my face. I think I singed my hoodie. I did not know the gas was even on. Surprise! I do, and always have, made sure the area around any flame or gas is clear and, that was the case so nothing else was harmed. Well, except for me being right there by the giant wall of flame. Thank goodness I am also in a wet environment! I could not light this shit on fire if I wanted to.
I think I have the hang of the stove, now. The cookware I bought seems to be working great. It takes a lot of gas to get a boil, so I will have to really pay attention to my levels. The good news is that this unit also runs on unleaded gas. I have a specific sort of container at the ready should I, a) run out of fuel in the other can, or b) become brave enough to try it. After my fireball experience, I am a little nervous. The unleaded gas can be filled much more often and cheaper than these fuel cans. Anyway, I am getting to know how to use the stove with the fuel can, which is what I am most familiar with. I will have to reduce the water for the rice, as it cooks differently than on the stove. As long as it was tender, a little extra water never hurt anyone. I also boil water to do the dishes. I cannot stand my hands to be really cold, as they actually will start to hurt. I mix the boiling water with my other water for a tepid pool of clean water for dishes
So, my adventure started with a wrestling match between me and the tent, never being able to find that thing that I need or want, and a fireball to the face bright and early this morning. I keep forgetting the little things, like washing my face or putting on sun screen. Not deal breakers, but things I wanted to keep up on for my own benefit. Yes, I know it could be worse, oh so much worse. I slept good, am fed, mostly warm, dry, and the sun is shinning. I have my pack ready to hike, am dressed in the appropriate layers, and have plenty of drinkable water on board. I am spending time worrying about the small stuff, about the “what if’s” and about things that are not here yet. So what if I have on random clothes that do not match, I am warm. So what if my rice is not the preferred consistency, I am fed. So what if in a few weeks I feel differently about this whole thing. I am here and I am now. This is where I need to live.
What I am noticing, as my busy brain spins around and around, is that this journey will be about living in the moment, being in the present. I mean, it is not raining, so why spaz out about what I would do if it was? It is not snowing or hurricane winds, so why worry about what will happen in that scenario? Yes, I tethered the tent down as I will always. I am using the rain fly and am prepared for several different weather patterns. But, if they are not here, they are not my reality. I need to keep myself and my focus here and now. In this place, this moment, on the task at hand.
Maybe this is why I am fucking up and why I feel out of sorts and why I continue to question myself, my choices, and what I am doing. I think my challenge is to live so precisely in the moment that nothing else matters. Focus on the task at hand, paying close attention to the details, and stop looking so far ahead or behind. Perhaps that is why I am distracted and making mistakes and why I feel just left of center. I may be too focused outside of myself, and not tuned in enough to myself. Get back in touch with me, find my voice and take the time to listen to it. What am I feeling? What do I need? What is happening right now? I mean, not at the expense of everything – keep camp prepared for rain, protected from wildlife and stupid humans, keep food stored away, secure valuables – be mindful of those things that should be a constant. But, put my head in my moments, in my now, in that thing I will be doing or need to do in the next five minutes, not five months, or even five weeks or five days.
Be here, now, present and attentive. Pay attention to what is happening or what needs to happen straight away. Maybe that will stop me from being such a hot mess, such a train wreck, such a bumble. It’s only been two days for fuck’s sake! Even the Bumble needed longer than that to find his groove. Perhaps I should give myself the same leeway. Me and Bumble, finding our way.
OK, now get your ass dressed appropriately and review the supplies for your hike. Pay attention. Tune into the details.
Don’t be a bumble.