Sunday, July 8, 2012

Backpacking and Pedicures

The Blough Family went on their first overnight backpacking trip which was long overdue. We set off for the San Mateo Wilderness in the northern section of the Cleveland National Forest and camped at Fisherman's Camp which decades ago served as a wintertime steelhead trout anglers paradise. The girls were so excited to set out fully equipped with kid backpacks, American Girl Dolls, bathing suits and plenty of water.

We were quickly overcome with 90 degree weather and spectacular views of chaparral covered mountains as far as the eye could see. As we descended the mountain I was seized with joy and was giddy to share this "religious" experience with my girls. When we approached our campsite with tired anticipation the stream was  bone dry. After a brief time of lamenting this reality we set off to explore and set up camp. Camille quickly learned how to poop in the woods with the ease of politicians lie. We explored together and watched the night approach with the sporadic and mysterious lure of little brown bats, and restless kids. I had the perfect solution for kids about to argue. Knives. Of course, kids love knives and parents love peace so I gave the girls a quick lesson in knife safety and some timeless strategies on whittling sticks into sharp kid friendly weapons. The girls loved it and Kim went back to reading teen fiction on her Nook and I went back to watching bats fly by in their drunken majesty. Peace transcended onto the camp and the shavings of willow bark flew onto Josephina's coarse doll hair with the soft, systematic sound of a slightly dulled knife in the hand of a child.

Lets fast forward to the following weekend in Palm Springs. The girls loved backpacking and pleaded to stay another night in our dry riparian oasis but everybody knows a pool at a proletariat resort sure as hell beats dirt. Here is the family checking into the Saguaro at Palm Springs with the Groupon receipt in hand.

As the girls sipped Shirley Temples next to the pool side bar with the rhythmic beats of the DJ in the background the lure of nature faded into oblivion. The party was on! Beautiful people scantily dressed and rippling with muscles and other human characteristics walked around the pool with drinks in hand. Kids splashed and we stretched out on lounge chairs with iced lemon apple water, ceviche and dark chocolate almonds.  The dry creek bed could not be further from our minds and stomachs.

The girls had scraped grout all week with me in our new bathroom and saved up enough money for a pedicure and manicure. They pleaded with me to get one with them and I told them I was scared to put my weathered feet into the warm bath of a strangers foot tub. Plus, lets be honest I am not exactly the pedicure manscaping type. I don't shave any part of my body, I shovel bird and goat shit and wear unlabeled jeans. Well my resistance was really effective against the Socratic Sirens of the 3 beautiful females in my family. So lets chalk up another one for a life of inconsistencies.

As I read A Thousand Splendid Suns and learn about women forced into marriage wearing veiled burqas I gaze out the windows to see bikinis and fake body parts. As I relax poolside stuffing my face I reflect on world starvation. As I farm Radio Acres with organic ambitions I drive 23 miles to Alpine to work. As I come home from bible study and learn about a Jesus of peace I argue with my wife. Backpacking and Palm Springs. Little brown bats fly majestically over tourists in Palm Springs. The reality of life is inconsistency. So sit back, relax, stress out and enjoy having your feet in the warm water of life's inconsistencies. As the 109 degree temperatures soar outside I crank up the AC. The blessings of life are everywhere.

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