Monday, August 20, 2007

Getting "Away"

I spent the lion's share of this past weekend on an overnight backpacking trip in the Cascades. Crabby found a good trail about 10 miles east of Steven's Pass: a little more than 2 miles and about a 1000-foot gradual elevation change into an alpine meadow with plenty of water sources. Perfect for my first backpacking trip in more than 12 years. So we set out on Saturday and hiked in, spent the majority of the afternoon reaching the meadow and relaxed for the rest of the day. It was very peaceful and extremely remote: there were two other groups of hikers on their way out, but that night we were likely the only human beings for about 15 miles in any direction.

It rained most of Saturday night and all of Sunday, including for our hike out, but it wasn't a downpour - more of a Seattle-style sprinkling. I managed to soak my boots because I didn't wear long pants, but we came back in the middle of the afternoon a little waterlogged but much relaxed.

Which leads me to something I've been thinking about lately. Why is it we - I - feel the need to get "away" to get away? I find it very difficult to relax in a situation where the pressures of my job/home projects/etc. are around me. When I'm at home, every time I walk past the kitchen door I think "that trim needs to be painted, that wall needs a bit of patch and paint." At work - well let's just say that my email pretty much turns me into a freak the entire time I'm here, and most of the time I'm away from work as well. I'm tethered to my Windows Mobile Device(tm), which in turn tethers me to my office.

Why "away" to be away? Is it that hard to relax in my own surroundings? Aren't houses supposed to be homes, places of refuge where you go at the end of the day to unwind?

I'm not complaining, I'm genuinely curious about this odd habit, because I know I'm not the only one who does this.

1 comment:

Roger said...

ummmm...well we want to get away because human beings are meant to be packed into the sardine cans of urban and suburban life.

we must escape escape escape--whether that be into childhood, nature, video games, fantasy novels or comic books. ANYTHING to keep us from the horrible realization that modern urban life is not only horribly destructive but also banal and ultimately boring.

I don't want this reality, I want another...