Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hiding Out in the Big Ugly Bus

Part of this season of hiding out has been greatly facilitated by my husband. When we got married my dad gave him an old school bus. Don’t ask why Dad had or needed an old school, he just did. And while I saw “old school bus”, Ty saw potential camper. So my husband set to work. He ripped out the seats, kept two to make a table and booth, built bunk beds that convert into a couch, and a Murphy bed for the two of us. So for the past few weekends we have loaded up and headed out to the lakes and rivers in our area.

I can’t say that I was a huge fan of the idea, and the looks we receive when we back up to an RV slip confirms my suspicions that everyone thinks that the Clampets have just arrived. It is a little painful to park the old girl next to the really nice RVs that are out there, you know the ones with slide out sections, a real refrigerator, built in cabinets, a proper number of windows, and a toilet that you don’t have dodge the raccoons to get to in the middle of the night.

To be honest, I really did not enjoy our first few times out. There is a ton of packing to do, and Ty never knows how long we are staying (it is completely dependent on how the fish are biting) so I am always worried there won’t be enough food or clothes. I had to figure out how to arrange and stow everything, and I really don’t like to cook in the first place, so how does doing it over a smoky fire any better? I don’t like fishing enough to justify paying for a license, and the past few weeks have been cold. But I grit my teeth and went anyway and hopefully without too much obvious annoyance at having my routine upset.

I kept telling myself, this is where your husband wants to be, and he wants you with him. I kept reminding myself to be a good wife, and not to kick up a fuss. And on each of those trips I would always find one moment that made it worthwhile, one conversation with my daughters, a few minutes with Ty, or all together where I would find something of value that we would not have experienced at home. But this time has been different.

For the first time, I found I had surrendered to the experience. I wasn’t just enduring it anymore and going through the motions so that everyone else could have a good time. I found that for the first time in a long time I was at peace, fully content to be in a moment of my own, just me and God listening to the water. I didn’t feel the pull of the things I was neglecting at home, or the conveniences I was missing from my comparatively modern kitchen. There was no rush, no hurry, and I realized that I had been given the freedom and permission to just be.

Not to be Emily the responsible mom, dependable wife, or even the eccentric artist. It was okay that I sat and watched the shad flashing in the sun, and just fine that I didn’t have a project going that needed my immediate attention. I could just sit and listen, but if that was too hard, I could just breathe. My husband and my God had conspired to make this moment happen for me, and had been for weeks now, but I had been fighting it because I didn’t know what else to do.

So if you are looking for me this summer, you will have to check the lakes and the rivers. My phone doesn’t always work here, and that’s alright. There’s an extra chair in the bus, or blanket to throw out on the ground if you prefer. If the fish are biting you can eat one for dinner with us, if not there is peanut butter and jelly in the bus. You might bring some bug spray and some sunscreen, because I probably forgot to pack mine. So come by and see us, we are hard to miss, just look for the big ugly fabulous bus.

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