I am terrified of highway driving no matter what kind of weather or what time of day, so I spent the entire four hours on the way to the lake with my eyes glued to the road. I have this strong suspicion that if I nod off or read or knit that the driver will suddenly lose all sense and careen off the road or a deer will hurl itself into the windshield or an oncoming car will jump the yellow line and make us one with its grillwork, as though the act of one Schmutzie looking will save lives.
Do you want to know something, though? No one has died under my watch except for approximately eight fish, two snails, a hamster, and a cat. People, though, thrive under my looking. My looking stops people from being dead. I AM NOT UNLIKE A GOD.
My looking managed to keep everyone safe until we arrived at the lake, which, strangely, had a massive, manicured lawn that stretched down to the water. That seemed very un-lake-like, but I went with it.
While other people with the magical ability to sleep took naps, I wandered around in the forest
and stuck my camera dangerously close to some waves.
And then there was the wedding!
We all gathered together on a hill at the base of which the bride and groom were married. I managed to snap a few good photos just before the ceremony, but I didn't get any good ones of the actual deed, because this stocky guy with a buzz cut kept jumping up in front of my camera. I would look through my viewfinder, start to press the button, and, POP!, there was the back of his head taking up a full third of my frame. I ended up scoring a few lovely shots of the back of Buzz Cut's head and the groom, the back of Buzz Cut's head and half the bride, and the back of Buzz Cut's head and the marriage commissioner's butt.
We spent the rest of the weekend drinking and laughing and being swarmed by the hungriest and most persistent mosqitoes I've seen in years. Ladies who wore dresses that weekend wound up with thighs that would make even an 1800's syphilitic whore shudder. After Bite became a hot commodity.
An interesting thing I always note when I'm in a forest is that I feel like I'm really breathing. The air is fresh and clear, and I am compelled to draw it deep into my lungs. In the city, I tend to breathe shallowly out of only the upper end of my lungs like I am stuck in a mild, ongoing panic attack.
All that breathing has a strange effect on my brain. I end up feeling every single emotion deep down in the depths of my being and have to take breaks in the woods to squeeze out a few tears. I waffled between extremes of feeling joy in my friendships to feeling absolutely sure that I was barely tolerated by all and sundry. The forest, she brings out the crazy.
There was enough laughter and fun, though, to keep me from racing off into the trees disguised as a bellowing sleeping bag.
This dishcloth bugged me for most of Saturday. It lay on this path ALL DAY LONG. The part of me that obsesses over inane details just could not let this one go. It stood out like a forest fire. Who's was it? Who dropped it? Why didn't they notice that they'd dropped it? Should I pick it up and take it to the hall?
See? The forest + Schmutzie = CRAZY. It's a good thing that we were only there for less than two full days.
Sunday was about drowning everything from a restaurant's buffet in gravy and relaxing in hammocks before we hit the highway for another round of Schmutzie's Looking Saves Everybody's Lives.
On the way home, I spotted this Bowler camper, which reminded me of a dream I used to have. I LOVE Bowler campers, and I had this dream of travelling across North America, living out of a Bowler, and writing about my experiences and the people I met along the way. In reality, I think I'd prefer substituting the Bowler with motel rooms and also documenting North America's motels along the way, because dragging a Bowler behind me on the highway would likely be crazy stress-inducing, plus I would have to deal with one of those camper toilets. Human waste is très gross.
And my looking saw us home safe and sound.