by a.m. stewart
My flimsy sandals, barely equipped for the sticky, mud-induced, all-terrain landscape, need to be replaced. Never mind the fact that I just moved six hours north and year-round sandals are no longer an option. After a month on the compound, a decisive change in outfitting was arranged.
Somehow the adjective “city” began to illustrate my existence. My friends’ parents, who live nearby, could be overheard classifying me as, “from the city.” This usually followed an explanation as to why I was ill prepared for a certain task.
“Yeah I saw you trying to make that 3-point turn – you’re from the city. I knew you’d never make it, so I thought I’d better come out here and move the car,” Jerr says.
Honesty – there was no way anyone could make that turn. The cars were parked too closely together, combined with lots of trees and big rocks. But I’m from the city and city folk apparently can’t navigate land that’s unpaved.
Increasingly, situations have prompted me to apply the “city” adjective to myself. I never thought of myself as a “city girl” but the more I survive in the woods, the more I realize I know nothing about rural life.
The other day I helped collect rocks from around the property to fill trenches for proper drainage. The area I live is a lot cleared in the middle of a forest. No smooth concrete or plush grass surrounding the home-site.
When it rains there is a lack of drainage, not like in carefully planned subdivisions and strip malls. So, digging trenches is a necessity to alleviate the orange mud-soaked land. And that process continues daily.
For the first time I used a pickaxe to clear an area for a parking spot. I never realized how much of a necessity this too quickly becomes. Tearing up big roots that may be problematic, each swing a little easier than the last – though still awkward to grasp. In the forest parking spots are left to your imagination.
Because camper space is a commodity, I’ve eliminated most of my possessions – keeping only the bare essentials. The luxuries I thought I once needed aren’t missed. This shedding process enables me to return to a more simplistic state of mind, giving me less opportunity for distraction. For those who know, Gemini’s are notorious for becoming easily sidetracked.
Everyday brings new and different situations I never imagined being part of. Exposing myself to a drastically different environment pushes me to become a stronger individual.
Too often, people isolate themselves by choice. Simply desiring what lies within their comfort zone. This trend is made easier by the inundation of our technological era. Surfing the Web all day, a girl can remain surrounded by just the music or ideals she identifies with. Never really being exposed to differences.
It’s like eating the same food day after day. You need a wide variety of food to give you a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Recently, I have come to value the physically tough endeavors. Spending a couple days without heat in 15-degree weather has instilled a renewed appreciation for electricity. When a fuse blew in my camper, leaving me unable to operate my space heater, I decided to embrace the frigid nights. My friends offered their couch to me inside their heated house, but I chose to experience the discomfort of the cold.
Electricity may not be available one day, how will we survive? Only those who know how to live without it will thrive. What I decided to do for a couple days is no different than millions of people who sleep in the cold every night.
Pubic schools don’t teach you how to survive without the reliance of modern conveniences. So I am learning these skills now.
My point is to welcome a new challenge into your life. Experiences that are drastically different from your normal encounters can only help you grow and learn. Because what’s the point of living, if you never evolve?