Our closest major supermarket in Maine is 35 minutes away, although I prefer the one over the border in New Hampshire that is 45 minutes away. It’s true, you can’t really afford to forget anything on your marketing list, because when you spend $10 in gas, and a total of 1.5 hours in travel time, you think twice about a double trip and realize there is very little stuff on your menu that can’t be substituted or eliminated. Of course I have a large supply of stored non-perishables for just that situation as well as weather emergencies. So being organized and making careful lists become habit, and it’s really not all that hard. I also make sure to combine errands for better efficiency. A trip to the supermarket might also include filling up with gas, picking up whatever I need at the hardware store, shopping at Wal-Mart, and a visit to Dunkin Donuts for a cold drink or hot chocolate, depending on the season. It may even include a side trip to the vet or a pick-your-own field or orchard. It also means that Market Day lasts at least 4 to 8 hours, but that is my choice and I don’t consider it an inconvenience. Because food shopping I do once a week – – but things like fishing, kayaking, swimming in the lake, hiking, walking and camping amidst magnificent nature, ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, valleys, and mountaintops, I can do every single day! And where and how else would life afford me this opportunity?
Our closest lake is only 2 miles and 4 minutes away. That means that my husband can take lunch hour swimming or kayaking and be back in plenty of time to finish his day. Or he can finish work at 5 pm and still have time for a hike or kayak or swim. Or even go on an overnight camping trip, since magnificent campsites provided at no charge by the Forest Service are only 3 miles and 5 minutes away.
That is just what we did one week this past summer. At noon I visited the campsite, flush against waterfalls, a natural pool, potholes and stream, and set up camp with our tent, hammock, and a couple of lawn chairs. I brought wood and kindling from our house and laid it down next to the fire ring. I wasn’t worried about leaving my stuff and it getting stolen – – the campsite is remote enough that few people other than locals would even know how to find it, though it’s easily accessible from a dirt road, and the overwhelming majority of Mainers are inherently honest folk.
Half an hour later I was back at home, impatiently waiting for my husband to finish work so we could begin our camping adventure. We ate dinner at home – – we didn’t want to encourage any bears at the campsite with the scent of leftover food – – and drove to the campsite with our dog, Spencer. After getting the campfire going and applying some bug spray, my husband settled into the hammock and studied the works of Maimonides’ Mishna Torah, a Jewish sacred text; I sat in the lawn chair near the fire and read a biography of Ariel Sharon which to my surprise, I found under the freecycle canopy at our local dump. As the sun went down, the air turned delightfully cool. I had placed some exercise mats on the floor of our tent which provided ample padding for our tired, aging bodies. It was a clear night and the proliferation of stars were remarkable.
In the morning my husband arose with the dawn, made a fire, and relaxed further. He returned home to start his workday while I remained at the campsite, enjoying the stream, taking lots of photos with my cellphone, and eventually napping in the hammock, falling asleep in the hammock. When I broke camp, and put the tent and other paraphernalia back in the car, I called my dog, Spencer, to come to the car. He wouldn’t budge. As I approached him, he darted away. He steadfastly refused to get in the car. Every time I’d get close, he practically laughed at me, “Can’t catch me!” and running just out of my reach. Like us, he had enjoyed our quickie camping night out, and hated to call it quits.
Sadly, it was to be our dog’s last camping trip. Spencer died in September at age 12 from cancer. I am so glad we had this time with him, and such wonderful memories.