September 2013 marks the 15th year I have immersed myself in the dirt and piney perfume of Lake Hume in the Sequoias. Despite my family’s knowledge, I am aware I am unhealthy addicted to certain social media platforms and my phone. As we rolled out of the San Fernando Valley and up to our customary wilderness, my phone and its Internet connections, conveniently took a respite for the weekend. After only a few hours back in the Internet-connected world again, I found photos of game hunters gloating over their “gorgeous” kills. Yes, they are gorgeous. So, then we go shoot them and get pats on the back? For having no soul? But I cannot bring that beautiful bear back to life. What I can do is write about the beauty, serenity and value of the wild places that bears and its wild brethren like to call home. Like the Sequoia National Forest.
So here is my humble abode to Hume Lake. Hopefully, the bear up there in bear heaven can hear this. And yes, that is a snapshot of the overly-empathetic psyche that is both a power source and a curse.
Day 1: Yom Kippur
Again this year, we skipped a stuffy temple and celebrated Yom Kippur in the mountains and the trees. I asked Aaron for some water, to which he squirted me in the face with ice-cold water. Once it was in my hands, I squirted him back immediately – like little kids, except that we have somehow grown up and acquired 3 B.A.s and 1 Masters between us. Touchè
And yes – dinner was not Kosher. Amazing tacos and beer with the citronella candle and the confused dogs getting tangled on the ropes.
But it did come down to the holidays. I get this from my dad, but Nature has always been a spiritual force to me. That is something that has never, ever changed – and I’m betting my whole future on it.
“ You don’t have to be somewhere special to be solemn.”
“Wish they [My dad’s parents] could have enjoyed more of their life together.”
Two audio snapshots to remember. Said while the sky went dark.
Day 2: The Usual Run- Around
Bacon. More bacon for breakfast. But hey- it’s the only time and place I eat it.
Burned it off with my customary daily run around the lake. My favorite part is the forested part approaching the bridge. There’s something about the dappled, shady ground springy with pine needles that makes you feel like Pocahontas.
Got back to our beach with lungs full of fresh air and new shoes covered in dust. Which the dogs then adorned with mud as they dashed in and out of the water, one reluctantly and the other 2 crazily.
Followed up by a post-run Cappuccino Crunch indulge break at the Snack Shop with that view behind us. The trees tunnel in around the lake to run into Kings Canyon. I take the same picture every year because I close my eyes and it wipes everything else away, no matter where I am.
Mental Picture: Monopoly National Parks addition in the RV with some more beverages.
I was winning until Aaron took everything over in a clean sweep and Eli and I could only weep.
Day 3: Why Are We Leaving Again?
The French came bearing gifts! Chocolate – lots and lots of it. So it was Nutella crepes for breakfast. We don’t really have the usual camping food.
Finished up the afternoon by jumping in the lake. It was kinda cold – but I needed a shower. My dad won that argument and besides leaving the lake without getting your hair wet would be a crime. I avoided the muck on the bottom by diving over it – it’s a good allegory for those “screw it” moments of life.
Spent some time with Aldo Leopold, a root beer and the perfect scenery and mood that you get when you relax.
“You have the chance to pick your life now? Isn’t that exciting?”
Finished up the day with Beach Volleyball. God, how I love that sport. We played an actual game first – and it was embarrassing. But as soon as we just rallied, I got my good shots and serves in and scratched up my newly tanned legs with the sand 😉 Against 2 6’foot plus guys and Dennis, who did a very impressive solo job. Beach Volleyball club and a natural love of Volleyball for the win!
Archie indulged in his passion for digging sand as well. Angry at the big ping-pong ball he couldn’t play with, he just kept chugging along. D’aww.
Every year by that third sunset, I don’t want to leave. I feel refreshed and ready to head back to reality. This year, it was different because I’m not a student anymore. I have to figure out my life again.
So yeah, I guess it is exciting (and terrifying).
With or without a bonfire in the moment, never forget to look up and see the stars. And give a nod and wink to the God that made the beautiful world for us. See, I didn’t forget about him or my bear muse.