Within a few hours of arriving at our mountain cabin this past summer for a weekend alone with my thoughts and to do a little writing, I realized something: Without my kids around, I didn’t have much to write about. Or did I? Not more than a couple of hours had gone by when it became clear that I had something to share. So I decided to do a timeline—a moment by moment chronology of what it’s like to be me in a cabin in the woods.
7:30 p.m., Friday: I arrive just in time to unpack the truck and make my way around in the fading twilight without turning on the propane lights. Did I mention there is no electricity, cell service or Internet access at the cabin?
7:35: My first task is the same as any grown-up’s would be upon arrival at a cabin for a solitary sojourn: check the upstairs for boogeymen.
7:40: Satisfied that the cabin is clear of any squatters, I unpack the truck: duffel bag of clothes, laptop, food (barely enough) and wine (more than enough). The fading trickles of natural light remind me that I’d better find the matches I’ll need to fire up the propane lights, which will be difficult to do in the dark. That’s me: always thinking ahead. But first, I pour a glass of wine and decide to enjoy the shift change of day to night, on the deck. That’s me, too: always prioritizing responsibly.
8:45: Stumbling around in the pitch black, I locate matches and make my way to the bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom.
8:50: With the pretend dog (no dogs allowed in the cabin) happily lazing by the door, I settle into the couch to read.
8:51: Realizing I have forgotten to bring my Kindle to the couch with me, I get up, hunt around, find it, and return.
8:52: Realizing I have forgotten to bring my glass of wine to the couch with me, I get up, hunt around, fill it, find it, and return.
8:53: Realizing I have forgotten to bring my glasses with me to the couch, I get up, hunt around, find them, and return.
8:54: Realizing it would actually be just perfect if I had my slippers on, I get up, hunt around, find them, and return.
8:55: I settle into the couch with my book, glasses, wine and slippers. Life is good.
8:56: Realizing that I have forgotten to bring my old-school ghetto blaster and CD case with me, I get up, hunt around, find them, and return.
8:57: Realizing that I might, in fact, be crazy, I wonder if anyone would believe my first few hours. I decide to find out. Hence, I open a Word doc and begin typing this blog.
9:15: Having caught up to myself in real time, I shut down the computer and notice a large fossil (hardback book) on the coffee table. It’s a narrative history of the settling of the American West. It’s called Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides. I’ve heard of him. Recalling my fondness for the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and my on-again, off-again fantasy of being Butch’s squeeze (or was it Sundance’s?) I open the book.
11:00: Thoroughly convinced that I should have lived in the Old West, I say goodnight to my new boyfriend from a past life, Kit Carson. Just then, my hound signals me that he indeed must go out and have a look around in the pitch black, Indian-infested wilderness. With just enough whiskey (wine) under my belt to be brave, my four-legged companion and I complete a successful expedition, trekking almost ten feet from the porch, before returning to the safety of our camp.
11:15: Lanterns out.
7:15 a.m.: My A-hole dog, having slept soundly in the exact center of the bed for the entire night, thereby keeping me alert enough to ward off bear attacks or rattlesnake invasions, alerts me that it is time to face the day. We depart for our morning walk and poop in the meadow. The dog goes virtually unnoticed; I, on the other hand, draw curious looks from passers-by. Could it be the coonskin cap?
Next week: Day Two: Varmints and Vittles.