Thursday, May 05, 2005

Call of the wild - Part 2

I know why the hawk fascinated me so much. I’ve developed a yearning, a longing, for nature – for being outside. Not just for sitting out on my patio in front of a busy street – but a need to be out in the woods, surrounded by trees, bushes, animals, birds – in the woods – alone.

That's the odd part. I want to be there alone. As in Henry David Thoreau alone. Now I know I’m not capable of building a cabin and living off the land. But I know that I am more than capable of spending time with just Mitzi and nature. No phone, no TV, no (gasp!) computer and internet. All I need is some food and water, a notebook and a sketch book, a supply of pencils, and an adequate area for going when nature calls (I’m not that “back to nature”).

I’ve thought about renting a cabin (no amenities except a bed) or an RV (parked and full of amenities) at the Camp Taylor in NJ. If anyone thinks that NJ is just Atlantic City, the Turnpike and Trenton, they should see Camp Taylor – a campground set in the woods of northern NJ – right off Interstate 80.

Being in the woods of Camp Taylor is not the only ambiance of the place that attracts me. The campground is also the host of the marvelous, wonderful, one of my most favorite places in THE world: The Lakota Wolf Preserve. The preserve houses around 20 wolves in various pack families and cares for them as if they were still in the wild. For a measly $15 one receives a tour of the preserve and expert talks on wolves and other creatures. The memory of the wolves' antics (only a fence separates you) left me smiling for days.

I need this time in the woods alone. I need to hear the twitter of birds without the roar of car engines. I need to stare up at stars without worrying that my neighbors think I’m the “crazy lady with the cats.” I need a place to be Mitzi – if only for a few days.

Thirty years ago my parents moved to an old house in the middle of 110 acres of West Virginia woodland. I was in my late twenties at the time and thought they were nuts. Not today. Sometimes I wish the land were still in our immediate family – a place of refuge for those times when the “real” life becomes overwhelming.

I’ve promised my sister that if I win the lottery I will either buy back that property, or buy two new ones – in the Poconos. One of those places will be the family retreat – where she and Gary, or Tony and Alyssa, or Chris and Aimee can go to “get away.”

The other place will be my year-round home – in the middle of the woods, with a screened-in porch and/or a huge deck. I’ve wanted a screened-in porch ever since reading how Koko and YumYum love Qwill’s (fantasy intruding on reality here)- a screened in porch would be great for the cats. A deck for me to sit out on in the morning, drink my coffee and not have to worry about neighbors or exhaust fumes. And if there’s enough money left over – a Florida room with a soaking tub for me – so I can sit in the tub and watch the snow fall. Glorious – glorious dreams.

But until then, I may have to settle for that RV on Camp Taylor. I’ve decided on the RV since it has indoor plumping, I take diuretics, and back-to-nature for me does not mean walking to the lavatory at 3 AM. Not yet anyway.


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