On Fishing and Solitude 

So I’ve managed to wrap up a hectic week of adventure in the confines of our little mountain oasis. It’s been filled with highs, lows, and plenty of in-betweens. Irregardless, now cometh the latest and greatest edition of the Diatribe:

Well here I sit on a porch watching the afternoon storms build. I’m miles from the nearest Wi-Fi signal, power line, or paved anything. I find myself heavily armed and locked in mortal combat against the invading hordes while I try to peck out this blog on the tiny keyboard of my trusty iPhone.  Am I battling zombies? Perhaps the Mongol horsemen of old?  No, it’s the very bane of my existence!  Flies. My weapon of choice for this particular battle is a well-loved yellow fly swatter.

We are up around 10,000′ at a rustic guest ranch that I’ve been coming to for years.  There’s no running water, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing.  Each of the four cabins has a woodstove that you cook on and rely upon as your sole source of heat.

Now some of you might think this sounds like a Wild West paradise and some of you may think I need my gourd examined.  I mean, who finds joy in a pit toilet and army bunk beds, living out of a cooler, or trying to change into my Superman footie jammies by the low steady flicker of a coal oil lantern without stubbing a toe?  What could a place like this have to offer a cosmopolitan man of the modern world such as myself (insert your own eye roll here)?

Solitude. Peace. A small little corner of the world where we can leave our troubles behind and recharge the sorely depleted batteries of our soul. Even if only for a few days I get to reconnect with my family without distraction.  The little Dooley bambinos now have no choice but to interact with us because I watched with glee as the batteries in their smuggled electronic devices dwindled to zero…yesterday.

There’s the “Man Water”.  The fresh water ’round these parts comes gushing directly out of the ground and you fill water buckets to haul back to your humble little abode. The Boy totally digs this and dubbed it Man Water.  The most work I’ve seen him do in a long time is hauling buckets up from the spring house.

It’s a place to receive a gut check.  Just when you start thinking you’re a pretty big deal you look up in the night sky and the universe puts you back in your place.  The same view of the heavens also puts your troubles into perspective. Someone out there, looking up at those same stars, has it way worse than you.  You whisper a prayer for them into the cosmos and slowly gain an appreciation for everything you forgot you had.

That is what a place like this has to offer.

Oh yeah, and it has damn good fishing. I have pulled some of the biggest brookies I’ve seen out of these waters. I smile as watch them slip back into the crystal clear water. Now I firmly believe that the boy dies a little inside every time I let our catch go, but he’s starting to appreciate why I do it.

So, wherever you find your own fortress of solitude, make sure you take the time to visit it with your clan. Find your laugh, rediscover the fact that you do actually enjoy spending with your loved ones, and then gird yourself against the onslaught of the coming workweek.

Let me know what you enjoy doing with your family when you escape reality, America.

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