This morning, things did not go according to plan. The plan had been in place for weeks (in my mind) to go on a favorite hike on Chicago’s north shore. Down through the ravines, to the beach, have lunch and a swim, then hike back up. It would have been a three-hour excursion, but time got cut short. I wanted to pick my husband up when he got off work, and I couldn’t do both. My friends and I switched to Plan B, a quick jaunt to the beach for a swim. Then they were late. Time was ticking. As I wrote in a previous post, I hate to rush. Rushing can turn (for me) what should be an enjoyable occasion (such as a walk in the woods) into a fretful daymare. Nevertheless, I loaded up the backpack baby carrier and headed to the beach determined to get my baby in the water for a splash—and determined to get my dose of the outdoors before we leave tomorrow.
Turns out, we had a blast. 11AM came way too fast, and my friends suddenly had to split in a hurry (their son had to make a poop in his own toilet; they swiftly wrangled their inflatable donuts and left me on the beach, still needing to change and diaper the baby, fold up the picnic blanket, and load the backpack). I’m sure we all would have stayed through lunch if our respective necessities hadn’t called. But they did.
Notice the Deuter Kid Comfort ii backpack in the background -- I love it. It's great for the beach.
The drive downtown is one I’ve enjoyed over the years. I left the baby behind with Grandma and decided to enjoy some loud music and sunroof breezes in 5-mile-per-hour traffic heading toward one of the most beautiful urban skylines in the world. I had a happy reunion with my husband, who I’ve seen only once in two weeks. Brought him home to a great meal bravely barbecued by the best mom ever—my own.
My mom kicks your mom's ass! Here she is barbecuing in the rain!
Missing out on a longer hike with friends was a disappointment because I’m craving the great outdoors. I hike the local forest preserves with my baby on my back, but I wouldn’t attempt a real challenging hike solo, just to be safe. I’m craving a physical challenge and the feeling of being far away that you only get in a major park, several hours from home. Can anyone reading understand that wanderlust can be agonizingly painful sometimes? It’s unrequited love. The feeling is similar. A dull ache and longing for connection with nature can grow into angst when it’s unfulfilled. It’s a problem in society some talented writers have written about:
When you Google “nature deficit disorder,” a whole lot comes up. (However, I encourage you to go outside instead of Google right now.)
I was feeling nature-starved this morning. It boils up every now and then. I called my friend Olia to tell her how brilliant her recent blog post was. She starts, “people told me they thought something is wrong with me after reading my blog.” Olia and I agree that blogging is salvation! Just having the blog makes me look for gold in the slushpile of life. The disappointments, the frustrations, the fights all bear lessons. When writing, we reflect on our experience and look for the wisdom to be gleaned from it. It takes time and concentration. In my case, I need quiet to write.
I promise never to rant or complain… without a positive conclusion. It’s me putting myself on the crucifix to show that you, too, can survive. It’s important to learn from others’ experience. That’s why reading is so vital.