I'm sorry that I've been incommunicado lately. The will to write has just been lacking. Maybe it's because I'm not sleeping well. Maybe it's because I've been spending some evenings writing code to get the middleware software I helped create and maintain as a grad student up and running again (a favor to my dissertation advisor... don't ask.) Maybe it's because I've also been using my evenings to construct and demolish furniture.
I don't know. The words just haven't been coming.
This past weekend I took some friends up on an invitation to get back to basics by going camping. It was "car" camping; we drove to a campsite in a park and pitched tents about 20 feet from our cars. The cooking was over a campfire though, making heavy use of a trusty Lodge cast iron Dutch oven. There was some hiking. There also was a short trip outside the park to do a little wine tasting. We slept in tents, but had air mattresses. In all, it was definitely "roughing it with benefits" instead of just "roughing it".
I hadn't been camping in about 10 years, and I was reminded how camping helps cut down on the white noise imposed by modern life (even the relatively luxurious camping I experienced.) There is no TV to watch. There is only what is in front of you and what you need to do take care of the necessities, like eating. You begin to get in touch with the basis for ideas like hospitality and civilization when you try sleeping at night in a tent. There's not much you can do to defend yourself or your property when you lay prone and just have a few walls of fabric to outline your personal domain.
That said, the trip was very well planned. I was loaned a tent, an air mattress, and given a grocery list. Beyond that, I just showed up for two enjoyable days of camping. I made or helped tend a few fires. I cleaned a few dishes. I hiked. I drank wine. I slept as best I could.
So now I am back... and I hopefully will update a bit more over the next few days.
on 2006-10-16 at 3:15 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond