the human cartoon

It feels like I’ve sort of lived on the edge of “living out in the woods” for a while now.

The longer I live anyplace, the more it feels like I’m living in a suburb.

If I learn to can all our own food…heat only with wood…learn to build my own furniture…figure out how to subsist on only on the game I hunt and the food I forage or grow in our garden…if I can do all that and all the other things associated with “rural” life…but I live a 15 minute drive from the nearest Wal-Mart, I just can’t feel much like a real homesteader.

That could be the fault of Wal-Mart as much as it is where I live.

Wal-Mart seems to be everywhere.

I don’t know how far out I’d need to be to feel like I was “out in the woods”.

If I got far out enough to really feel “rural” I’d probably complain that I didn’t have access to fast internet, though.  I’d find some reason to complain…the porridge would never be “just right” no matter where I planted my feet.

I’ve been a human cartoon from time to time…having misadventures that felt as though the only way for them to happen would be if I was some kind of animated character.  Surely these things couldn’t possibly happen to a real man?

We watch a show called “Mountain Men” sometimes when we can catch it.  It airs on the History Channel…I’m not sure when it usually comes on…maybe Sunday?  I’m not sure.  Anyway, one of the guys on it is a camp acquaintance from way back so it’s interesting to see him and the other participants “out in the woods”.

What strikes me about some of the show is that no matter how far out these guys get…unless they’re flying in to Alaska or something…even their lives feel connected and “close in”. It may just be the camera crew and the narrator that gives my that misimpression, though.

I don’t know if the moon would be separate enough…there’s always another rocket that could get to you if someone wanted to check on how things were going.

Everything feels close in now for some reason…hike down the road for a cell phone signal…GPS the coordinates….turn on the satellite TV to learn what happened today in the lower 48….make sure the solar panels are charging the battery banks.  Technology makes some of this stuff that people do out in the woods feel more like living in town.

We all just muddle through, though…we learn how to do things and we try to do what’s necessary. No matter what our environment…rural or urban or somewhere in-between, we figure out the things we need to do to “survive”.

If it’s killing enough squirrels to make it through the winter or picking up the fax machine from the repair shop, we learn to cope with our environment.

I finished listening to “Into the Wild” a couple of days ago.  One of the points the author made was that Chris McCandless really wasn’t all that far out in the bush…that by Alaskan standards he was really pretty close to civilization.

To him, I’m sure, it must have felt like he’d dropped off the edge of the world.

Maybe the only real wilderness we can find anymore is the one inside our own heads?  Maybe the only wilderness that really exists is the one we bring to any situation?

Tell that to the Grizzly that really wants to eat you up.


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