The mice moved in in full force at my little cabin. By full force, I mean running around and eating my food right in front of me. So I threw the necessities in a bag and went to my mom’s house for the week. I didn’t feel like struggling against the mice when I was just about to leave. My mom’s house is warm, she has wifi and a washer and a dryer, and I’ve been washing all my water bottles in her dishwasher.
I went home the other day to finish cleaning and packing up my little cabin for the winter. Turns out most of my clothes fit in one large plastic box, and the rest of my things fill two more. I don’t own much up there. The mice were everywhere… three dead ones and two live ones caught in Pigeon’s food box. Looks like I’m a real baby when it comes to mice. I waited around for a few hours, scrubbing my fridge and packing up all my spices (so much for that spice rack!) until my neighbor rode by on her bike.
“Anne… I’m a real baby. Will you catch these mice for me?”
One day I’ll be like Anne, I just know it. I watched her just reach into the food bucket and pull them out with her bare hands: ain’t no thang. Then she ate a banana.
Anyway, back to my mom’s. So here I am, belongings exploded all over my old high school room (that’s now yellow and brown and oh so grown up), writing my articles and organizing my life. Or trying to. I have a packing list, and two giant, clear boxes. In one box is a growing pile of tree lot necessities: fancy coffee grinder, spices, and yoga mat, anything to make the stay a little better. In the other box are S. America necessities: my new Watershed bag, a first aid kit, bathing suits. In a separate pile (no box yet!) is a Grand Canyon mess: sleeping pads, tents, everything that even looks warm.
My packing list is simple. Since I’ll only have mere hours between each stop on the transition between S. America and the Grand Canyon, things that go both places are highlighted in blue. When I pack for the last time in Ecuador, I’ll separate my things according to the packing list and then I can merely drop off one bag and pick up a different one in North Carolina, and spend the few hours I’m there with my mom instead of reorganizing wool socks and packable towels. Plus, I’m a huge nerd when it comes to logistics and planning. This stuff just makes me so happy.
The other night, my mom asked if I wanted to go out with her and her boyfriend to hear some local music. Of course; this little town is quirky and this will be a good time. She called and made a reservation. Because only up here do you make a reservation at the restaurant in the local gas station where a local bluegrass band will be playing.
And it was a good time. The band was good, I met some of my mom’s friends, and by the time we left at 8:30, I was almost falling asleep on the way home.
So I’m sitting in bed with warm coffee one last time, enjoying a last morning of freedom before I head to trees. Fall pro leisure tour was excellent. A highlight was getting on the Watauga river for the first time. For a three-hour drive, it was well worth it. The water was unlike most of the low volume creeking I’m used to. Swirly currents, huge holes, and beautiful ledges made me understand why everyone is so in love with that river. Stateline is a huge sixteen or so foot drop near the end. With a ledge-and-hole-filled lead in, the rapid is beautiful in it’s flowing qualities. After a few months of working with Andrew on improving my eddy-scouting skills for S America, it was fun to bomb through rapids instead of catching eddies and pausing.
My final weekend in the Southeast was the kind of weekend that brings back memories of living on the farm. I used to pack up my little Toyota with everything I could need for a weekend and head out with no real plan. A boat on my roof and friends’ couches kept me occupied. I remember hiking down rail road tracks in the twilight snow, packing up and heading out early to the Nolichucky where Jason and I tried to remember what we had read in the water stained guide book on the way there.
Last weekend I spent time in Ga with several good friends on the Tallulah, even doing two laps on one day. My legs were jell-o until Abby took me to her neighbor’s wood fired hot tub to soak after we fed horses, drank wine, and gushed about the star-filled night sky.
This is my last post for a while most likely. I’m headed to trees, then my grand adventure. I’m not sure what keeps me pushing on. All I know is I spent years feeling broken because I can’t seem to stay anywhere, to stay stagnant. I am motivated by the fear of complacency. But I don’t think I’m broken, anymore. I think what I am, is me.