Near Is the New Far, or, Staying Home for the Holidays

My early Monday morning’s meditation has included a chapter from the recently released book by author Richard Louv, “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder,” for the last nine weeks. This morning, the synchronicity of today’s chapter brought tears to my eyes — “Chapter 9: The Incredible Experience of Being Where You Are.”

Incredible, indeed, because today’s Outdoors feature is about staying right where you are for Memorial Day weekend, finding fresh fish in your own neighborhood lake or pond and how to cook it up.

Suddenly, my mind flashed back to a week my three boys and I spent on Curlew Lake up in Ferry County nearly 10 years ago.

I had saved up a week of vacation time and the money to pay for a week’s rental of a cabin and a boat at Tiffany’s Resort. We spent a long day driving up to the furthest point north the boys had ever been and settled into our cabin for the night, eager to hit the water early in the morning.

When we got up early the next morning, we could see the lake laid out before us from the big picture window of our cabin. We knew it was an adventure waiting to happen. The air was crisp and dew-laden, a fog settled over the water. It was magical.

We headed out to the far side of the long lake in our rental boat — because you know fishing is always better at the furthest point from where you start out — my oldest son was in charge of finding the best place for us to settle in for a long day of catching. We weren’t there to fish, we were there to catch.

Once we had settled in and baited up, I had a chance to look around at the scenery surrounding us. It was beautiful, but something bothered me about the picturesque shoreline and hills. It took me a while to figure out what it was — the place looked a whole lot like Lake Mayfield. I might as well have been home.

Now mind you, it was a fun adventure to travel far from home and try new waters — but still, it was darned expensive. And There wasn’t any better than Here, as far as I could see. In fact, we didn’t even do a lot of catching that weekend.

When we got home I was determined to find out if there was a getaway a whole lot closer to home. Sure enough, I found the Lake Mayfield Resort. A local resort complete with cabins and boats for rent, plenty of fish to catch and only a few miles from home.

It had never occurred to me to look so close to home for a place to get away.

Later that summer, I was back at work at my job near the capitol building in Olympia, talking to an Olympia resident about her upcoming vacation.

“We’re spending the next two weeks in the same spot we go camping every year, it’s just heaven,” she said. “I can’t wait to load up the RV and go.”

This woman held a high level job in a big organization and could afford, I was certain, a high end vacation spot. I had to ask her where she was going and I was fully prepared to be green with envy.

When she told me the locale of her heavenly destination, it took every bit of good Southern upbringing I had in me not to burst out laughing — her idea of heaven was two miles as the crow flies from the place where I lay my head to sleep every single night.

I didn’t tell her where I live.

Memorial Day
Memorial Day is the day we set aside time to remember those who have died while in military service. I think we have an obligation to honor the sacrifices made by the people of our nation to keep this nation free.

Thank you to the soldiers and to the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters of all the great men and women that have served and continue to serve our country.

Thank you, most especially, to those men and women that kept my own daddy safe when he was serving in Vietnam. I will always and ever be grateful to you.
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Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer who enjoys watching and photographing the wildlife in her own backyard in Cinebar. Contact her via email at kz@tds.net.