It’s that time of year when modern woman feels the need to shed her technology driven urban life and to step back a little. Reconnect with nature. Get back to a simpler time. With an over-packed car, traveling music and a spirit of adventure, my family set out on a journey to the North Woods of Wisconsin this past week.
Now, I’m a fan of nature. I like trees and flowers and animals like most everyone else, but I wouldn’t call myself an Earth child. And after this vacation, it’s safe to say that I might never become one, either. Because as much as that primitive side of me wants to be one with nature, I don’t think I’m cut out for it, Here’s why:
I always felt sorry for Bambi’s mom–the shy, gentle mother of the forest king shot down in the prime of her life by a ruthless hunter. At least that’s how I always saw them, but ponder this. What if deer are actually highly trained kamikaze fighters sent in as a first line of defense against aggressive humans?
It seemed like every back road we turned on some crazy deer bolted out in front of us, dodging from side to side and in front of our vehicle before running into the bush. Just when we thought it was safe to proceed, there would be another one darting around the car. Had I not had my eyes peeled for these suicidal cervidae, we would have had Bambi’s Mom Revisited for my girls to see in glorious 3-D Technicolor.
Picture this: A back road in the middle of BFE towards twilight. Our Subaru takes a hard left turn on a gravel road and encounters a turkey. We slow down, yet the turkey remains in the middle of the road, staring us down. Now, cue the music from West Side story. (You know the scene I’m talking about when the two gangs meet and dance about in tight pants?) My husband advances slowly. The turkey hops towards us and fluffs out it’s feathers, a clear sign of aggression. We honk the horn. It hops again and then from out of nowhere a line of birds form behind it, bobbing and weaving on the road before us. (If they’d had fingers, you can bet they’d be snapping them!) The steely light of battle enters my husband’s eyes, and he revs the engine squealing the tires as he powers forward. Finally, brute force (and two tons of man-made machinery) breaks the line of squawking birds and sends them back to the underbrush where they belong, but not before one of them poops on my car.
I know how improbable that sounds given I lack antennae, a thorax or the need to suck the blood from innocent mammals; however it is true. How else is it possible for one human being to be bit in spite of being covered head to toe in Deet and mosquito repellent netting? Since the odds of that happening are fairly slim, I must conclude that I am the queen and my loyal subjects were happy to see me. They converged en masse to pay their respects and though the mosquito netting packaging assured me I’d not be bitten, I did not escape their overzealous welcome.
There we were in the middle of nowhere, the nearest facility with indoor plumbing miles away. Inevitably, that’s when a small voice pipes up insisting that it is time to answer nature’s call. Driving back to the lone gas station that looked like something out of a 50s noir film thirty miles up the road is not a possibility, especially when there is a child doing the cross-legged potty dance in front of you.
Being the good mother that you are, you take the child to the nearest tree and have her drop her drawers. Demonstrating how she needs to push her butt up and out into the air, you tell her to have at it, completely forgetting to tell her to aim away from the cloth of her pants pooled around her ankles. Quickly, but not quickly enough, you grab at her pants, and that’s when you get peed on.
Flashbacks of sleepless nights, urine soaked clothing and leaky diapers changed in out of the way places resurface and soon you are in the fetal position crying on the forest floor while your husband and two offspring laugh uproariously at your expense.
Nothing quite says ‘I love you’ like your husband spraying a continuous cloud of Deet on your butt when you have to drop trough and pee in the woods. And no mosquitoes dared to interrupt me, whether from the noxious mist of bug repellent hanging ominously around my posterior or because even they recognized the Queen needed a moment.
**I’ve given my husband his orders. Our next journey will be somewhere on a beach with cabana boys bringing me Mai-Tais and some muscled beefcake named Raoul or Jean Claude rubbing coconut oil into my skin. Oh, and I told him he and the kids could come along, too, if they wanted. **
This post was originally featured on Hahas for Hoohas June 18, 2015. It also serves as a timely reminder to ignore this insistent voices urging me to reconsider and give camping a try again. That’s one journey I am happy not to relive.
©Sara Ackerman, 2016