Wild blueberries

Jackson and I were picking wild blueberries this morning. In case you don’t know this, my dog’s name is Jackson. It takes a long time to pick wild blueberries, if you want a pint. If you want enough for a pie, well, you could be at it a good long while. Jackson and I gathered enough for a pint or a little less. I’m sitting in the “T.V. Room” at the campground on Mount Desert Island as I write this. The t.v. Room isn’t much – a T.V., as promised, a bench that once sat outside in a park, a table and two chairs. The T.V. Room is also where you sit to get an internet connection, if it’s a sunny day. If it’s overcast, as it is now, you might get a connection and you might not. Cell coverage is as spotty as the clouds are changeable here on the water. This is partly my excuse for taking so long to update this page. The real excuse is that I haven’t wanted to write, because I wanted to have happier things to say. When I say “happier” I mean the kind of happy you see in a movie, I mean the kind of happy you imagine diffuses a person in love. I didn’t want to write about the big fight my mom and I had; or the fact that I made a big mistake pulling out of a gravel driveway and cracked the “black water tank.” The black water tank holds the poop and pee, so you can imagine how much fun that moment was. I was so excited too, just before I cracked the shitter. We were getting in the RV and ready to move. We were going to Jonesport, which is a city north of Bar Harbor, and near the farm we stayed on. I unplugged the RV, walked around and did my outside check, so proud that I remembered to do an outside check, jumped in, started her up and then slowly inched my way out of the drive. It was hard, she didn’t want to go, so I gave her some more juice, thinking that was the solution, and we slogged our way out of the drive. I looked behind me, and saw the gravel I had dragged onto the road, and the tell tale damp trail that looked like water but on closer inspection was definitely not water. It stank just as you can imagine; and comprehension dawned. “Oh god,” I thought, “what am I going to do?” Immediately after that thought was a flash of frustration and shame, because I had just done exactly the thing that I had lectured my mom NOT to do.

And I was supposed to update my blog?! Are you kidding? What am I supposed to write? That I want to turn around and go back home? That I thought about what an enormously expensive mistake I had made? That I wanted to blame my mom for my own mistake, or throw myself on the ground (away from the poo) and cry and scream? That I wanted someone else to take care of this mess I made?

So, back to picking blueberries this morning. I kept picking and picking them, and wondering when I would have enough. Why it was taking so long, and where was my dog (when he wandered off a bit)? And it occurred to me that life is full of this kind of moment. Life is not like a movie. Life is full of mundane moments, one after the other, that occasionally break out into surprising bliss, and recede back into mundane. It occurred to me that I, who have not had a T.V. in about three years, have been brainwashed by images from T.V. and movies. In anticipation of this trip I built in both my conscious mind and not so conscious mind what this trip would be like. And it did not involve cracked black water tanks or big fights with my mom. The vision instead revolved around butterfly-light moments of happiness, wild joy and freedom, visions of me standing on the edge of some precipice and glowing with exultation. In other words, movie-like montages that have nothing to do with reality. How much of my life is glowing anticipation followed by stabbing disappointment and then my mind making the disappointment into a defeat that proves how wrong I was to hope? I write that and think, how awful! I can’t post that. But, I think I will. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. I just think it’s time to rework this pattern. I don’t want to deny myself the joy of anticipation. But, I also want to give myself the enjoyment of the moment, no matter what the moment. And, when enjoyment isn’t really appropriate (like the moment of cracking the black water tank), then at least to temper the disappointment so I don’t follow my mind down the rabbit hole of defeat. That’s what I got out of picking blueberries this morning. Next post will be more about the island itself. Maine is beautiful. You should see it sometime.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Morrison
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 17:48:18

    metaphorically, this could be about letting go of the crap, whether you’re ready for it or not. and you’re dealing with your shit, and it isn’t pretty. fights with Mom, well to be expected. tight quarters, possibly things left unsaid…all the body wants to do is express, and the qi’s gotta move. this takes real courage to do what you’re doing, and be authentic about your travels. like you said, you could give us the hollywood version, but that’s superficial, not real. so proud of you! love, m


  2. Bill Ahern
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 17:50:04

    pictures of the busted poop-tin or it didn’t happen.


  3. Ahsha
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:07:16

    Hey Laura
    Thanks for the REAL stories.
    THEY are the BEST. Sometimes you just be initiated and initiated again and again. I’ve done a bit of road travel and have had the range of experiences. Moment’s of breaking down and sobbing and thoughts of going home are not uncommon.
    Don’t quit. Stay with it. Perservere. And keep us posted.
    This weekend I’m horizontal 90% of the time with a wicked summer cold, fever etc. See Love Everywhere!
    Ahsha (from class)


  4. Mary M
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:25:17

    I’m here. We’re all here with you. Keep being honest. Don’t go back.
    I’ll be in ME (near Port Clyde) starting Sat 7/31. Not sure if we can connect, but know I send you big hugs. Thank you for the turtle. MM


  5. Stephanie Gates
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 19:17:26

    Sounds like a crappy beginning…pun intended. You still have to watch RV the movie. I will definately be keeping up with your blog


  6. John C.
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 03:00:06

    I’m glad that you posted this … because years from now, in addition to the random transcendent moments you experience on the road, this story will be told. And laughter will fill the air. And in that moment, transcendence will happen, all the more appreciated 🙂

    I’m glad you’re posting about blueberries, too.


  7. Elena Khazanova
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 21:18:35

    Laura, I am so sorry, what a difficult start! Here is my intention for your journey: I see you having deep, transformative experiences that are also enjoyable and fun. In the meantime, a poop-tank accident story (under a heading of “Wild blueberries”) made for a fascinating read.


  8. Michelle
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 23:12:27

    You are my hero. Really. Keep writing.


  9. Sarah Carlson
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 19:59:18

    Laura – What a comedy of errors! Actually, despite your anti-T.V. rant, I think I could see something like that in a screenplay with total success. (a Ben Stiller comedy?) …but alas this was real life. I can’t imagine the disappointment you must have been feeling. I mean, what a BUMMER! But I like your attitude shift. Being able to truly be disappointed, then find the humor in it all, and then moving forward is such a life lesson.


  10. Kathryn Sparks
    Aug 10, 2010 @ 21:40:31

    Dear Laura – what a wonderful post. Thank you for keeping it real and really keeping it. I love how you find the holy in the mundane and make meaning out of shit. Go you. Looking forward to reading the next installment!


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