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I didn’t melt in the Texas heat

August 15, 2011

It’s good to be home. I did NOT melt in the Texas heat — I simply escaped, and I didn’t think it would be wise to say, “Hey y’all, I’m OUT OF TOWN.”

In the meantime, I had a checkup at the doctor and am pleased to add another official six months to my cancer freedom. My next checkup is sometime in February.

I went to the woods to find myself, which I would have been able to do had I not brought my children with me. My parents have a place in the backwoods of easternmost East Tennessee, and we all went camping for a couple of weeks.

I’ve always admired people who have been able to write meaningful prose about their time in the wilderness. As me, I collected some wood and stomped on it to break it up into burnable bits. Then I burned it, and found that I was out of wood, so I went and collected some more wood.

I also sat on a rock and looked around me at the leaves and the trees, at the rocks, and the curve of the earth. I looked up some, at the bits of the sky peeking through the canopy. I looked down at the ground, at the bugs, and the layer of leaves. I kicked it aside with my boot to see how long it takes the fallen leaves to turn into soil. Not long.

I did some cooking in a cast iron skillet over the open fire, and I listened for rain.

My son, whom I am going to start calling by his middle name, Nicholas to protect his identity, dug holes in the ground. He found two large stones, which we brought home with us, as well as what looks to me like a very old and primitive axe or scraper — it has a sharp curved blade along one side. I’m going to take a picture of it and send it to an archaeologist friend to look at when I unpack my car. Nicholas also discovered that he, too, could collect sticks and burn them.

My daughter, whose middle name is Catherine, read. The next time we go camping, I’m packing a box of books for her, hard ones like War and Peace, or Watership Down, or else I’m getting her a kindle. There’s something wrong with that last idea… Catherine never quite cottoned up to the fire, but she did, eventually, overcome her fear of dung beetles.

“What did you learn this summer,” I asked her? “I learned to poop in a hole in the ground!” she said.

School starts in two days. I’m already practicing keeping a straight face.

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  1. Aunt Lee permalink

    You’ve made me laugh out loud. Don’t do that often, living alone as I do, but I did. Love the Czarina/Czar names. Aunt Lee

  2. I have missed checking in for a while and I have to agree with your aunt. No matter what you are writing about, your sense of humor shines through (a gift from God).
    “a Texas fan

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