Last night I asked God to rewind my life back to six months ago. I figured that would be enough time for me to tell DJ to get to an OB/GYN and to get a pap smear or to have an exam that might catch the cancer before it progressed. I prayed that when I opened my eyes in the morning, DJ would be lying beside me and we’d have another chance to do things over. Since it didn’t happen, I’m under the assumption that God obviously didn’t like my idea and He gave me no explanation as to why not.
DJ and I would go out to eat breakfast a few times a month. Usually, on a Friday or Saturday morning, and usually, at the same rotation of breakfast places near us. Over breakfast one morning, sometime in May, we got to talking about camping again.
I like to camp. A few years ago, I went backpacking and primitive camping. After a few days of kneeling, bending, harumphing, and sitting around on logs, I decided I was getting too old for this kind of camping shit. With DJ’s blessing, I bought a small teardrop trailer. I loved that little thing. At the time, I couldn’t afford anything much larger than that little trailer and DJ told me to get whatever I wanted to get because she would probably only go with me a few times a year, if that. The trailer had no bathroom and clearance at it’s highest point was 6 feet. DJ was 5’11” and needed a bathroom so in the two years I owned it, she never went camping with me.
So, over breakfast last May, we discussed the idea of getting something a little larger. Something she would be able to fit into comfortably. Something with a damned bathroom! I had already done my research (I am sort of anal about things. I will research things and keep info tucked away until it’s needed. I’m weird like that.) and laid out the groundwork for what I thought we needed. DJ was totally on board with the idea. She had a goal of visiting all the U.S. Presidential Libraries in the U.S. (I know, I know. But she was Canadian and U.S. history fascinated her.)
The first weekend of June, the RV I had been researching, and had seen in another city about a two hour drive from where we lived, showed up at a location about 30 minutes outside the city. DJ and I drove over and looked at it, test drove it, then signed on the dotted line. The dealer said it would be a week before it would be ready for pick-up so we scheduled a pick-up for the following weekend. I picked it up and I did all the prepping for a camping trip we had scheduled for the following weekend. DJ was excited. She bought bedding and towels. She bought cleaning supplies (DJ was a cleaning fanatic.), and she found the Camping World website where she showed me a virtual shopping cart full of crap we wouldn’t need. In short, DJ never got to see the RV after I picked it up. The weekend we were supposed to go camping was the weekend she was admitted to the hospital and she never came home again.
Last weekend, I took the RV out to a nearby state park in Bastrop, Texas. The area around Bastrop was a heavily wooded area known as the Lost Pines. This beautiful area was decimated by a fire in 2011 that destroyed practically all of the piney woods in and around the area. It was devastating.
I think it sort of fitting that this was the park I chose to go camping in the new RV for the first time. Well, let me back up a minute…I didn’t choose the park, the park chose me. I did a search for last minute openings at nearby state parks and they were all full except for Bastrop, which is why I chose it.
When I walked around a bit, the thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that despite the horrific wildfire that happened, the trees themselves were not entirely destroyed. They are bare of their leaves and their bark. They may, or may not, be dead. But they are all still standing…ghostly trees that seem to inundate the landscape as far as the naked eye can see. Gone, but not gone. There, but not there.
I’d like to say I felt DJ’s presence with me but I didn’t. What I did feel was an overwhelming sense of loss and of sadness. A sense that not everything grows back and becomes what it once was when it was alive. Am I like the trees? Is DJ like the trees? Nothing makes sense the way it used to, I only know that there seemed to be a message in those lost woods. I’m just not sure my receptors are as sharp as they used to be.
I suppose there are many times in our lives that we want to hit the rewind button. Times when we wish we could go back and say, “I’m sorry” or say, “I love you”, or just sit without speaking, knowing that a comfortable silence often supersedes words. In many ways, the piney woods gave me the sense of silence I needed. At least for those few days.
I enjoy reading and have blogged in the past about travel and books. My latest blog is a vanity blog. I write about whatever comes to mind, specifically, things I think I need in life. Hope you enjoy!