I was lost in the woods, but now I am found or Go tell it on the mountain

11 Jan

I can easily go off on a tangent.  The legal term for it is a “frolicking detour”.  See, plans are not necessarily concrete for me.  They are more of a loose framework to fudge around with.  And that is how I managed to get myself into a pickle in the urban wilderness, yet again.

So here’s what happened this time.  I am a city mouse, who likes to pretend she’s all woodsy and good with outdoor stuff.  For Christmas, Big Daddy indulged me with new fanny pack that’s not a fanny pack to stuff all of my incidentals in for when I go walking off campus.  But yesterday I was in a big ol’ hurry to get out of the house to take the dog to have his ACL surgery (oy vey!) in Marietta, and I left my new non-fanny pack fanny pack in the mudroom.  So, after a morning of veterinary drama, and a trip through the Bo Jangles drive-thru, I finally parked at the base of Kennesaw Mountain for a little exercise al fresco.  I separated my key from the key ring and had no choice but to deposit it in what my mother taught me was nature’s pocket: my bra.

My storage compartment ain't what it used to be

My “plan” was to go for about 4 miles and be back to the car at 1 o’clock.  However, the weather was sooo nice and the trail was sooo easy that I thought I’d stretch it to 6 miles.  But I still felt good and thought that I was actually circling the base of the mountain and that I’d be back to my car at about the time I’d reach 8 miles.  Perfect.  At a bit over 8.75 miles I felt like I wasn’t really where I should be, because I wasn’t, and then I felt for my key and my bra was devoid of anything not God-made.  Uh-oh.  I was going to have to back track to find the key.  Panic.  I wasn’t nearly as worried about being stuck in the woods come nightfall as I was about having to make a certain phone call.  But time was on my side and I’d find the key and no one would be any the wiser.

So, if I worked backwards exactly (which I did not) I would be walking at least 18 miles.  That’s a lot of ground to cover both physically and mentally.  My mind kept drifting back to how over this past weekend we had “free” Showtime.  I caught about the last thirty minutes of 127 Hours.  That’s the movie with James Franco, where he plays a super laidback guy who goes rock climbing alone, without telling any one details of his specific plan.  Because he is so adaptive and has a good sense of direction and skills, he feels like he’s got the upper hand with being all loosey-goosey like that.  He eventually slips and gets stuck in a crevice because that upper hand of his gets wedged behind a rock.  That sucked for him.  After several days, his water bottle is running low, he starts becoming delusional and despite all of his efforts to wiggle free, use ropes and his body weight to shift the pinning stone and even attempting to use his pocketknife to cut his arm out, he remains stuck.  Finally he resorts to gnawing his own arm off to free himself.   Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  So, now here I am, sort of lost in the wilderness of Kennesaw Mountain, and thinking about this damn movie.  Even though I can occasionally hear the sound of cars, there’s swollen creeks-a-plenty and I am occasionally passing other hikers, I am getting a bit nerve wracked.  I don’t like to ask for help.  It’s a problem.  I am hoping that I don’t have to gnaw off anything in the process of getting back to my car with key in hand…I have TMJ; I doubt my jaw could handle any heavy chomping!

As carpool time was drawing closer, I ended up gnawing off my pride by calling Big Daddy to tell him I couldn’t pick up our treasures from school and then had to explain why.  It may have been as painful as chewing my own flesh.  While alarmed, he was perfectly calm and nice about the whole thing.  I, on the other hand, was full of self-inflicted loathing and humiliation because I ignored common sense and had to admit it out loud.  I was embarrassed that I was throwing a wrench into the family’s afternoon routine, angry that I needed saving, plus I was beginning to feel the effects of so much fast walking and running.

It might not be at all surprising to find out that I was one of those girls who was always reading into things and looking for “hidden meanings”.  As a grown up, I say that I am now watching out for “the signs”.  I love to dissect what I decide is double speak and pick out what I perceive as tension.  I cut my teeth on shows like Moon Lighting and Remington Steele in the 1980s to hone this particular skill set for looking between the lines.  For instance, on the last day of school in sixth grade, Robbie Brown said, “I really like your Trapper Keeper”, but then he looked away suddenly.  What did he mean by that???  What did he really want to tell me???  I knew what he truly was saying was, “I don’t have the nerve to ask you to ‘go with me’, but I think you are fascinating and I think about you all of the time.”  Naturally, at around mile 12, I began turning my inquisitive mind to wondering about why I was in the conundrum and what my lessons and take-aways were going to be.  After all, if I had to be humbled in this process, I had better find out why.  Maybe it was as simple as that God was telling me that if I was going to scarf down a Bo-Jangles chicken biscuit for breakfast, it was going to take a lot more than a lovely 4-mile jaunt to knock it off.

Once the kids were gotten, Big Daddy called my cell and said they would be waiting for me by my car.  Whew.  Just before I was spit out of the woods, I looked down and found a dollar bill.  I never found my key, but I found a dollar.  Then it started to rain.  Considering I was already soaked and nasty, it was not a chink in the program.  Rain was just another damn thing in this long day.  I had to cross the Kennesaw Battlefield to get to where the family was waiting in the parking lot.  I thought that it was a bit ironic that I had been wandering around an historic Civil War battle site for nearly 20 miles with spoiled good intentions.  All I wanted to was to be clean, with my people and going home.  I had gone to war with my stubborn independence; returning a sore soldier who was resolved to not be such a stickler for sole reliance and to accept accountability for that bad flaw of mine disrupting the day.

Where the battle was fought the first time

Epilogue

Everyone was sitting in the car, having snacks, reading and smiling.  I did not get the third degree tongue-lashing I so feared and deserved for not following Common Sense 101.  I had planned to return to the mountain the next day, if I could still stand, and find that key.  I didn’t have to.  It was sitting on the console of my car…right where I had put it, apparently.  Doh!

I wants it, I needs it, I must have my precious key

Snakebite rode home with me and pointed out that at least I had gotten some good exercise outside, found some money and had a new funny story that starred me as Gollum on the quest for my precious car key.  And as a bonus, I didn’t end up on the news as the subject of a helicopter search.  God, I love that kid.

I crossed my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye and all of that, that going forward I will always text Big Daddy if I am going off road.

Once home, I sat in my deep tub for about 1 ½ hour soaking in Lush bath bombs and Epsom Salts.  I took two Tylenol and went to bed around 8 o’clock.  Today, I literally have a pain in my butt, but it’s okay.

Here is what I learned for sure:  Make a plan, share the plan and adhere to the plan.  Be prepared by having everything you need when you start a project or an adventure.  That could include something a simple as a closing pocket or be as seemingly outlandish and unnecessary as taking a buddy when you go some place that is unfamiliar, or a partner to hold the ladder when you clean the gutters.  I also found out that single people get real freaked out when you try to ask them questions like, “Have you seen a key on the trail?” when no one else is around.  Did they think I was going to invite them to my Arbonne home show?  Also, condom wrappers don’t decompose rapidly in the woods.   Eew.  Oh, and nice people hang hoses over their really tall fences for thirsty hikers and dogs.  And nothing looks better after a rough day, than a loved one who’s just happy they could rescue you from yourself…again.

Today I divulged my dumb-assedness on the phone to a friend.  After admonishing me for going into the woods alone, she asked if she could come the next time I go.  So, next week there will be a hiking day with girlfriend Caroline.  I didn’t know I had city friends that would even be interested in weekday trail-blazing.  This is great news; I won’t have to become one of those 9am mall walkers!  If anyone would like to join us in a Mommy Urban Hiking club, just let me know!  Turns out that when you divulge your plans, it all comes together.

Happy endings ahead

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3 Responses to “I was lost in the woods, but now I am found or Go tell it on the mountain”

  1. Laurel January 11, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    I am laughing so hard right now…not just because this was funny. Partly it is sheer joy in the knowledge that I am not alone.

    • Hot damn, Charlotte Ann! January 11, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Having to call Big Daddy was absolutely gut twisting…and then realizing that the key was in the car…Ugh. The fact that he didn’t scram at me for being an idiot is almost worse. Like when your parents would just shake their head and walk away.

  2. Kim January 12, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    I want to go hiking with you as well! Let me know when you want another adventure! I will even bring my cow bell to ward off bears or to alert the search party to where we are lost if necessary!

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