Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fifteen Minutes of Peace

We're just back from our vacation, a trip to Seneca State Forest in WV.  No electricity, no cell coverage, no wi-fi, no running water...but there were gas lights and a propane fridge.  We went knowing that it would be an escape from the modern world.

We arrived to find that our cabin was two stories and looked more like a house than a cabin.

Inside was the wood cook stove and sinks with no faucets.  The water needed to be hand pumped outside.

We knew most of this going in, since we stayed there in another cabin two years ago.  The cabin sat on the banks of Seneca Lake away from the other cabins.

Violet came with us, her goofy houndness took a little while to settle in, she feared being taken back to the shelter, so having all her gear, her bowls, crate, blanket, etc. packed up was stressful.

 She followed us around the house as we unloaded and unpacked.  I had noted earlier that she seemed to really have to think to go up and down stairs, so I guessed in her previous life there were no stairs.  She followed us up the stairs and then stood at the top staring down.  She took a few steps and then we heard her tumble down the rest of the flight.  Later, she went up and tumbled down again.  Being no fool, the third time she stood at the top and whined.  We knew it was time for her to go out.  I placed treats on every other stair to help entice her down.  No dice. I called and encouraged her.  She would reach for the treat two steps down, but wouldn't attempt putting a paw on the step.  My husband eventually carried her down, a somewhat damp process, because she really did need to go out.  Late that evening just before bed, she was up there again and needed a walk and he carried her down again.  It was looking like it was going to be a long damp week.

The next morning we were all up and getting breakfast together when we heard a tentative step on the top few stairs.  We all called and cheered her as she slowly picked her way down the stairs, fighting the force of gravity.  Once mastered, she was able to make it down the stairs many times a day (since she is my little Velcro girl) without any further indignities.

On the second day of our trip, the cabin was quiet, my daughter and her friend were reading and drawing in their room, my husband was taking a nap and I was reading down stairs.  My daughter came down the same stairs to get a pen walking in her stocking feet, stepped off the stairs onto the very smooth hardwood floors and executed a perfect cartoon-style banana peel fall.  Her feet went up into the air higher than her behind and she levitated for a moment, before crashing down.   I asked her if she was okay and she immediately replied that she was fine.  Then in three heartbeats, her freckled face turned a funny gray-green as she lifted up her left arm.

I quickly recalled where in town I had seen the big blue H sign, as I calmly walked over to examine her wrist.  Everything seemed lined up properly, good.  She had full movement of everything, double good.  She didn't need to tell me that it really hurt, that was written on her face.  I pulled the blue ice from the freezer and began basic first aid.  I had some sports wrap in my bag, that I had packed since my ankle has been annoying me again lately.  We bandaged her wrist with the bright blue wrap and waited to see if it was going to bruise and/or inflate like a balloon.  All the while I was calculating the time of day, wondering whether there were any orthopedists in the area, would we need to head home to get proper treatment, whether we would have to call her soccer coach to take her off the roster, thinking of my friend who had just posted vacation photos of her neatly polished toes on the beach with blue ice packs around her ankle, and a million other things.  It is now a week ago, her wrist is still wrapped, but functional.  Soccer throw ins hurt though.

The remainder of the vacation passed without any more scary stories.  We slept in, read books, fished, played Scrabble and Apples to Apples, toured caverns, watched wildlife, walked the dog around the forest, canoed and pedal boat-ed.

My very favorite part was walking back from the outhouse at about 2 AM.  There were no city lights to interfere with the stars, it was still except for the sounds of the water and a frog.  It was a type of quiet that just is not possible in an urban/suburban area--no cars, no planes (we live near two international airports and three major military installations, there is always a plane), no voices, no lights.  I would stand out there in my pj's for fifteen minutes or so before going in, but only because it was the mountains and it was chilly.  That was why I went into the woods, for those fifteen minutes or so each night.

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