Exhausted. It seems like a while since I’ve had to use that word. Yet, here we are. I can’t say that I did very much today, yet it was a very good day. Well, as long as it’s normal for a back to hurt this much and it is. I guess.
Sleeping hasn’t been quite as good as I thought. I had been looking forward to the air mattress, as I’d not been able to use it since my last night at Lake Corpus Christi Campground in Texas, almost two weeks ago now. The first night here I pulled it out and inflated it, yet by time I went to bed that night it was already flat. I suppose it’s on my list of things to do, to pull it out and look for a leak, yet then I’d just need to go by a patch kit, and really with that and the two other blankets under my mummy bag, I have been comfortable enough.
Mostly, it is nice to sleep laying down! Ha, add that to the list of my obvious conclusions. This windy nights have put me in the tent each night for shelter, which the first night seemed to go by slow. Then I remembered Netflix and it’s hours of entertainment. So far in the last two months, other than a little Facebook and of course keeping up on my own website here, there hasn’t been much in the way of news or entertainment for me. (Well, excepting all the people I’ve met.)
Honestly though, when have I had the time? For the last two months, it was the basics. Eat, sleep, move. Essentially, the ADL’s, activities of daily living. Yeah, those most basic things we’re taught as children.. Wake up, sit up, stand up, go to the bathroom, cook, clean and etc. You could certainly say I super sized those ADL’s a little by doing it campground style, yet really, it seems like that’s about all I do each day.
I kept wanting to type today, I kept having a lot I could have said, and I kept stopping myself. I kept waiting for something good to say, something positive, something awesome. It didn’t come. In fact, I spent most the morning feeling anything but positive. Hard to specify why, other than well, the current totality of my situation. Although a great dreamer, I’ve never been much for strong expectations. Also, I’ve never been much of a goal setter. Most days (months, years, decades) I was always just trying to survive the day and hoping to get home at the end of the night.
Be happy. Yeah, I suppose that was the goal, be happy. I sat in my chair out front of my tent after getting back from the bathrooms, seven am, forty degrees, yet with a lot of sunshine and long sleeve t-shirt, it was a great morning for sipping tea. And thinking.. and questioning myself, how did I end up here?
Well, where is here? The edge of the world. Really? Well, the edge of the desert. Really? Well, the edge of the state campground primitive area where vehicles are not allowed to go further. Okay. So you’re in the rural south west. No so much the problem. My home is in the desert. My home is tent in the desert. Closer to the problem. I don’t know where my home is. Now we’re there.
Everything in my life had reached catastrophic levels and I simple was not able to deal with it. Three months ago I was ready to stick a needle in my arm and just hope I would never feel anything again. I do have a bit of writing to do still on that, yet THINKing first.. stories involving other people are hard. Campground life in Mathis taught me that. What will happen when I start to write stories about people back in Jackson. Stories that will have ramifications for people that I love.
This is the challenge, and one of the reasons I’ve been practicing my writing I think, practice writing honestly. Honestly, what does that mean, aren’t I and honest person? Well of course, who would say other wise. Yet, in my words, from only my point of view, am I capable of telling a whole story objectively? Well, instinctually, I think when most people tell stories, they become the hero and anyone in their way are the villains. Yet what if I’m not a hero?
Listening to a persons tale of woe is sometimes hard. While listening my mind will often be going on the back burner. Thinking of ways I could help the person or their situation, thinking of story or wise words that might help. Yet, some people don’t seem to want results from their stories. Some people seem to be defending against any help offered, even as they seem to be asking for it. What are they asking for then really, pity? Just to be heard? I don’t know. I suppose it varies with each person and situation.
This morning as I was sipping my tea and figuring how I ended up here living in a tent on the edge of the desert and not knowing where home was. Where ever it was, I had tremendous urge to get there (this was just before the sunlight took off the last of the morning chill– ha, just before the sunlight took of enough of the morning chill for you to not notice it’s only eight degrees above freezing.)
Back to the tent thing, perhaps that does easily explain why I’ve been thinking about Michigan, or specifically my house in Jackson. I mean right now, there is queen size bed that would fill up this tent, empty. Oh, Jackson was comfortable, I rested a lot there.
Hmm, that says something. Oh gosh it’s early enough only eight fifty size my time, yet I just verged on concept that has ran through my mind for years. Profit. Profit? I should specify my questions are with the noun form of the word, for the verb is clear enough for it to be used in scripture. Just profit. The right amount of profit to cover the cost of your time, talent or treasure given and how much extra?
The worlds answer? as much as possible. If I picked up a funny looking rock off the ground for free, polished on my shirt and you came over and offered a hundred bucks for it, should I take it? Yep, every time and ask if you’re interested in more rocks.
Yet what amount of value was given and how much profit was recieved? Had I paid for rock picking up training? Would it cost to launder my shirt? Would it cost any more to launder my shirt.
Okay, not that much free time. I could go on and on in my mind, yet the concept I want to say just isn’t clear enough.
Where was I? Thinking of Michigan. Okay, let’s go. Google map the miles and lets do it, lets go live in a house, what are we going to do when we get there?
Hmm.. well, I can start to clean the inside, God knows it needs it. Pick up the yard. Start going through two months of mail. Start calling debtors and utilities to tell them my tales of woe? Oh, God also knows I’ve got a good story (when you can say: “then after the four day coma”) yet at the end if it all, the punch line would be the same: nope, don’t have the money. Yes, there will be programs to help delay.. I could stay for while, then be homeless, broke and stuck in Jackson when the bank takes the house.
Okay, that’s probably a bit dramatic, there are some good programs, and from the first missed mortgage payment I suppose I could stay a year if I tried, maybe longer. Utilities, well, come on social services. Oh, I’ve been poor in Jackson before, and God knows I’ve learned much more about the working of that system since then. Add in disability and I could have rode an easy life to no where. No where but a needle. Going on a financial decline isn’t fun, yet at some point, I suppose that is the breaks. The results of my choices.
What would I give to save my soul? Everything.
I kept sipping my tea.
Yeah. Living in the desert. It was quiet today. I saw four people. Each in a vehicle, three I drove by when I went in to the main campground to fill up my water jug (seven gallons, yet I only fill it half) from an unused sites spigot before seven am. Then one Park Ranger in their truck- they seem to drive the loop at the primitive site each day- the first day I expected them to stop. I was a little worried.
I have paid for my New Mexico Annual Camping Pass, which specifies that it needs to be carried and displayed on the vehicle. Well, when it arrives in Michigan, then gets resent to me here, I will proudly display it, yet until then.. I am hoping to keep a low profile. Oddly, in New Mexico I have not talked to a single ranger yet, they don’t even man the visitor center at all. All entrances for day use or camping is either online reservation or by using the self pay station (exact cash or check only.)
In any case, today they just rode on by. The first day (was that yesterday? yeah had to be, tonight is the third night, anyhow) they kinda slammed on their breaks a bit coming back up the loop from the lake shore. Coming down the path from the day use area they had passed by my site, as it is very well camouflaged from the north and west. Yet on the way back it’s pretty obvious when you see a Mustang GT parked next to the shrub grass.
Yet even then- okay, tapped on the breaks, slowed when they saw me- they didn’t stop to check my papers or anything, and they didn’t slow down nearly enough (and even over a hundred feet or more away) to read my license plate, as the camping portion of the permit can only be done from my vehicle, with it’s license plate now it their system (which is supposed to then match the placard pass being displayed.. oh well for now.) Anyhow, slowed down a bit as my site caught their eye, yet that was it, they just kept on going without checking my paperwork at all. I presume they are marking the days though..
Oh course though really.. now that I think about it, how would they know when I left for that one required night each fourteen days? When I put the tent’s tart into turtle mode, it is full camo in all directions. Hmm, pack everything into car or just stash in desert? Or I think really, just see how well they count my days, or if they just keep driving by all month. I mean if I don’t have to break camp… Okay, different topic.
Ahh, so turtle mode. The tent did well last night. The late winds were crazy, gusts up to eight five. That is fricken windy. Yet it took some damage too. I think I lost half the grommets. One pole straight through the edge, taking its grommet with it even. Most the basic stakes pulled loose, yet all of the special new ones (Walmart had two types of heavy duty, I went with four of each) held perfectly- just the tarp tore around them. Altogether, it was fine and held well and that was the worst of it for the week (as predicted..) Of course, this all on the protective tarp outer layer, then tent itself was flawless (wait, it was very dusty, dirty, very dirty inside, not flawless.)
Yet, after seeing some errors in my initial design, I gave up on the big front awning, and rolled up the edges to create an origami shape that can be put up with poles to enter and exit (it’s short though.. kind of hard to walk out and it sort of feels like an igloo with a tunnel entrance now.) Yet can also fold in zig zagged to completely cover the front of the tent ‘skin tight’ as it does the other three side. Of which was another error. When I first put up the tart, I left a few feet of space on one side as shelter for some things that wouldn’t come into the tent. That was nice and all, except I don’t think it rains much here, and also that was a lot of airspace for the wind to pound into.
Now, as I’m prepared for bed in my tent, the tarp its fully tucked around all four sides, which just in stopping the wind make it a lot warmer (though certainly, now the wind moves the tent around even a little harder) and also it can contain heat, just cooking dinner on the stove made it almost too warm in here. Which an hour or two later was nice to know, as I turned one burner on low for a while to heat it up, and was able to turn it off and enjoy the warmth created.
Oh, other news? Hmm, how should I end this post, almost twenty three hundred words, no clear topic – it is how I felt this morning – shambles. That’s what I was going to name a post this morning, yet I didn’t let myself write it- it would have been a dismal piece. Yet shambles now is the name still. Things a little thrown all over the place. In googling the map today, I did some gas calculations, and now a days ‘going somewhere’ costs in a very real way. From where I’m at to Cooper street would be three hundred in gas, from here to Alaska is seven hundred (probably closer to a thousand with Canadian gas prices.)
Yet, it is too early for Alaska. May, middle of May. I have ten weeks to get to Alaska slowly, as weather permits. Until then, until I find gold, I need to do some serious evaluations of consumables (other than food, that is well supplied courtesy of the State of Michigan and all it’s resident taxpayers) and start to plan this out (again..) before I end up stuck before I get there.
Yeah, maybe it’s not much of a plan or a lifestyle. Yet, apprentice gold digger is still the only job I’ve been offered. Until I can find a better plan, that is the plan- and it could work out so awesome.. just imagine the story if I go find some giant ball of gold. Ha. Or some small nuggets at least. Three months of free camping up there for sure (once I learn how to eat with only going to Walmart once a week- I may need a larger/another fridge.) And at best? Maybe I’ll some gold to through on the table in Vegas!
Who knows what’s next.
Oh wait- living in a tent, on the ground.. the floor. Do you know how much time I’ve spent on the ground, on my hands and knees in the last year? Almost none, as little as possible. I was labeled a fall risk in the hospital, and I do everything I can to not fall down (anymore.) Yet in the small tent, I went down at night and eventually got good at getting back up each morning from that level. However, living ‘in’ the tent is different, hands and knees all day. Crawling in or out, or over there. Hunched over if I try to stand (the tent is only four feet four I think.)
If I put my five gallon bucket seat in the center of the tent I can sit up straight with my head firmly in the mesh of the top. This is a whole new form of PT and lots more stretching. So much so, that I want to get up and go take a walk for a break- and finally took a picture of the the sign. At some point, I’m going to have to learn to carry the camp bag on my back, instead of the mustangs and go walk in past that sign for a day or two.
Time to rest.