Dementors, Loss, and Adventure

The mountains are swathed in rainy, snowy mists and the clouds have settled low around our town. Even though the spring green is beginning to pop, that special grey-day green, the weather is getting people down. It seems that dementors are about.

img_1067Photo Credit: Lutz Braum @ Snapshots For Sore Eyes

Each time we’ve left home for a mini-adventure lately, something has happened to put a big damper on the fun. When on spring break (the last time I actually wrote a blog post) our car was broken into and almost all our camping gear was stolen. Turkey hunting with friends a week ago, our dog escaped their back yard and went on an adventure of his own that resulted in a steep vet bill and one sad dog who is trapped in a kennel while his dislocated hip heals. Remarking on the seeming bad luck to my friend, she pointed out it might not be such a great idea to be calling attention to the bad luck right before I go on a grand cycling adventure (probably) by myself.

But it’s hard not to feel like there’s a force of darkness trying to suck the spirit out of my plans. Losing so much of our outdoor gear was especially disheartening. Our tent, Mr. Bike’s backpack, hiking boots, sleeping bags and pads, bike helmets, rain jackets, and the list goes on. We hadn’t realized just how valuable all of that stuff was to us until we suddenly didn’t have it. It had taken years to set ourselves up. Typically, I think, when telling stories like this it would be expected to go on about how being robbed taught us an important lesson about not being attached to stuff. And normally I would agree. Except when you use the stuff regularly and in ways that has greatly enriched our lives. Mr. Bike gave me our tent for my 21st birthday; he set it up in the snow and cooked me french toast over a whisperlight stove. His backpack was his corresponding birthday present from me. Our adventures have shaped us. I tried to not be particularly upset, and managed well until an insurance payment and tax refund came in allowing us to replenish the missing items. Buying things that I’d already owned, and which had served perfectly well, put me in a funk. I’m sure that we’ll make new memories, and really each thing we had to replace is part of the “remember that time we tried to have an adventure and got totally robbed?” story.

I could have borne it better if just a week after replacing most of our gear we didn’t have to fork over another arm and leg for our dog. Mr. Kepler Ginger Dog had a day out chasing gophers across the interstate, where he encountered a car. He survived, unbelievably, only a little worse for the wear. His hip was dislocated, which was not so easy to put back. Currently he lives in a kennel and stares out at us very sad and unable to understand why we have locked him away. Our hypothetical conversations of the past wherein we laid down our limit, what we considered to be a reasonable amount for dog repair, were suddenly irrelevant. So, money. At that point, I started to consider that maybe I shouldn’t go on my trip. Maybe I should save the money and put it to more “responsible” purposes. But Mr. Bike won’t let me quit, and I don’t really want to either.

Even though the dementors are closing in, I am ready to go adventure. Perhaps dragging and lagging, feeling down, and feeling tired are the perfect reasons to go. Reset. Rest. Make my own luck. And as bad as getting robbed and having to find my damaged dog on the side of the interstate were, I know that there are darker things out there. Several of my friends have lost loved ones this spring. Several more are in the process of losing loved ones right now. Darkness comes everyday. In doing things that matter, spending time with family and friends, trusting ourselves, working through hard things we can add a little light to the picture.

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