Gone Fishin’

I hate my cell phone.

No.

Really.

I hate it.

It works. It’s not broken. It takes decent pictures – though you can be the judge of that. I hate it because it never leaves me alone! It rings when I’m not at work. It calls me after I’ve put it down. I feel like I am part of some massive Pavlovian experiment; my head snaps toward each ding.

My favorite time of year is after the end of school when I take my kids deep into the mountains, a place where there are no cell phones. A land of story read-alouds, nightly card games, chuckles over the fire, conversation during cleanup. Each year we spend hours contemplating which books to take. I read until they fall asleep at night – or more accurately until my words start slurring and I nod off too many times for their taste and they pry the book from my fingers and put a marker in the page. I read at midday and on picnics. We play cards or games when it rains. We spend hours tending the fire. We fish in the mornings in the hopes of eating a fish taken fresh from the water and fired up hot in the pan. There is nothing so delicious as fruit picked from the tree or fish that had been swimming along an hour before.

A lot of the day is taken up in cooking food over an open fire and the clean up after. My husband thinks we’re nuts. He is not into latrines, mosquitoes the size of inner tubes, or bears that can rip your trunk open to get at the food hidden inside. Fortunately, the kids haven’t experienced any bear encounters. Bear free trips certainly make camping more relaxing.

The best part of the trip is the quiet. The only sounds you hear are rustling trees, speed boats in the distance, the clear water lapping gently against the shore, the skittery chipmunk, the swish of the aquatic birds making their landings in the lake, or the splash of the otter. Right next to the peace, is the night sky. You would be amazed to know how many stars exist. The night is almost as brilliant as the day. The break from electronics is positively marvelous.

By the time I return,

I don’t hate my phone anymore.

I guess absence really does

make the heart grow fonder.

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