The moment I waved the gate card at the unresponsive lock, I knew I should have read the email before making the hour and a half drive out to Lake Trask.
My boys and I looked up to see the sign on the gate boldly telling us to park our vehicle and check in at the office. Access to campsites would be limited.
I thought again about the email from a few days ago labeled: “Important! Please Read!”
I had tried to read it at work but couldn’t pull it up.
“I’ll check at home,” I thought. Then I promptly forgot until staring at the locked gate at the lake near Shelton where we have a camping site.
In that moment, the boys and I saw our day shift into another place.
We parked the van and walked through the fence and down the gravel road to the clubhouse. They stayed downstairs with the pool table while I climbed up the steep stairs to the office definitely built before ADA regulations.
The woman at the desk stared out at me from behind the sliding glass partition, tensing and holding the counter for extra support in case I attacked. I imagined other campers had not read their emails and taken their frustration out on her.
“Can I help you?” she asked without a smile.
Her face relaxed a bit when I confessed I should have made myself more aware of the situation at the lake before coming out. She then told me that the construction workers had torn up the roads to repair the ancient meandering plumbing system. We could only get to our site by riding in the ranger’s truck and had to stay there until escorted back out for our safety.
With a crackle of the radio, she called up the ranger.
Although it wasn’t the day we planned, we ended up having a fabulous time. The boys got to ride in the bed of the ranger’s truck and thought that might be the very best way to travel ever.
Most campers read their email and stayed home. We had the place to ourselves aside from the ranger and the lady in the upstairs office.
We ate lunch and played a wild game of chase while throwing midget pinecones — an adventure middle-aged women don’t often get to enjoy. A mouse scampered in front of us on the path, probably shocked campers dared to come.
We found no frogs but not for lack of trying.
It wasn’t the trip we planned. I couldn’t haul in my books because there wasn’t room in the ranger’s truck. We could not leave our site or hike around. We didn’t even go swimming and had to leave by 3:00 pm.
In spite of all that, our day trip may have turned out better than we imagined before the unread email slapped us at the gate.
View looking up at the origin of pinecone grenades
It sounds like I’m making a frog leap, but I’ve noticed a similar wonderful thing happens when I lose my writing.
I have lost a lot of writing.
Don’t get me wrong. I hate feeling that my precious creation is gone forever, and I am always sure I’ll never ever be able to do it again. I work hard to hold on to my creations just like I worked hard to plan my trip with the boys that day.
But sometimes the computer crashes, or I don’t save well enough. Sometimes my notebook falls into the pile of the missing. Sometimes – like last time — I think it’s in a recent notebook but it’s not. I wrote a snippet long before I thought I wrote it, and the scribbled out words were tucked into a different journal from a month ago.
Here’s the thing.
When I am finally able to let go the old version and rewrite it, the new creation turns out just as okay as the first time I wrote it.
Never the same. But just as okay. Sometimes even a smidgen better.
I know because when I do find the original writing (like I did in the month-ago journal), I can compare.
I often end up weaving Version A and B together to make a beautiful version C.
Trips to the lake. Writing stories. Having kids. Fostering cats. Living life. These things never quite go as planned, even when the gates aren’t locked and the notebook doesn’t get lost.
I still intend to have a grand time with the tiny pinecones and the Version C. It’s seems like the best option, and it sure is more fun than yelling at the lady in the office.
May you find your own rewritten path-
From the trips before that went as planned…