Mother Nature has issued me an ultimatum: “Get yer ass outta the city this weekend or we are through!”
This came in the form of a shower of acorns pelting my skull as I stood in my yard the other night. I’m not an idiot. I can take a hint.
See, Mother Nature — or MN — and I have been drifting the last few summers. We’ve had a few uncomfortable dates that I thought made the appearance of love and devotion, but she saw right through my air kisses and empty gestures.
Staying in a cabin with a roof was cheating, she charged. A few hikes and an afternoon nap under the pines do not a relationship make, she warned.
MN looked the other way because we had a new baby and were insecure about laying her on the earth to sleep. But I knew, deep down, that MN was hurting. Why else would she have visited pestilence upon us in each of our last three trips away from home?
Once upon a time, MN and I were tight.
Backpacking the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness in Montana, 2000.
We spent so much time together; only the thin material of my tent separated us. I rode her rivers and streams, climbed her mountains and marveled her beauty from one end of this country to the other.
I thought our bond was solid when I went so far as to camp in January and withstood her bitter embrace.
But I drifted more than the snow that winter. Girl from the East came to us and kept us close to home.
I know this is my last chance. I am packing my tent and camp gear and going on a reconciliatory date. I’ll sleep on the forest floor, gather sticks to spark a cooking fire, walk barefoot on her soft skin and gaze up at her breathtaking night display. She really is a beauty.
This weekend, I offer endless devotion and penance.