January 4, 2011


Some things have a way of just putting things in perspective.

Like the power going out.  What do you do when you can't 1)turn on the lights 2)charge your cell phone 3)turn on your computer 4)turn on your router  5)wash dishes 6)use the blender 7)use the washing machine 8)shower?  Those were a few of the things I had to do without from yesterday 9 am to today 10 am.  This experience made me realize what a wimp I have become.

I used to camp regularly. Not just car camping but backpacking.  You know, voluntarily going without showers for days, cooking over a one burner portable gas flame, carrying around all your water, food, clothing, and bedding on your back up and down mountain paths?  So what's wrong with me? Why did I bitch so much for the last 24 hours when I simply had no access to 120 volts?

Time, I would wager, is the problem.  Too long it's been since I've strapped on my external frame and set boot to the trail.  I have all sorts of great excuses.  Husband hates hiking, only accompanies me on short walks just to humor me, no really good parks or trail systems to be had here in Central Mexico, garbage, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, scorpions, bandidos, stray bulls, had a baby, etc. etc.  But I know in the back of my mind that hitting the wilderness scene is something I very much want to do with the baby when she's older, and when we have the means to visit the right spots either up in the States or find some treasures down here.

The reason I make this commitment, as far off as it may be, is I don't want her (myself included) to lose sight of the value of the simple things we are afforded that we all too often take for granted.  A roof over our head, wheels to carry us, energy to drive our daily lives, and so on.  Recently I sold my car for the cash and we've been schlepping around the 3 of us in the front seat of Margo's single cabin Toyota pickup until we find a double cab pickup.  I've been whining & moaning about squeezing my fat ass into the space between Margo & the baby's car seat, one butt cheek on the driver's seat and the other on the passenger seat.  Margo's started to feel quite bad about a noisy round of complaining last night, and I had to stop and ask myself, when did I become such a primadonna?  I used to ride my bike 3 miles to campus and back every day (in the snow!)

Owning a home has quite a bit to do with it.  Little by little, if you're lucky, you go climbing that socioeconomic ladder, and forgetting about the lower rungs you once stood on.  For example, I cannot fathom how Margo & I, and all our possessions, once shared one room in another family's home.  Yet this act of sacrifice was what allowed us to save up enough $ to later build a house.  I am not morally opposed to collecting creature comforts but when their acquisition starts to compel you to want more and more, and when you cease to be able to appreciate the vast number of conveniences (comparatively speaking to the rest of the world) you actually have, I think it becomes a problem.

Since I'd gotten some cavities during my pregnancy, my New Year's resolution was to cut down on sugary snacks/drinks between meals.  But, assessing the situation, I think another one is due:  to better appreciate the bounty of my life, and not spend so much time obsessing about what I lack.  I'm guessing I'm not alone among those for whom this resolution could be a real stress-reliever.  Happy 2011, Year of the Rabbit!


  1. Hey Nicole. I miss the wilderness as well. However, I have found the Sierra Gorda to be worthwhile for hikibg saely (other than the rash I got last year) Anytime you want a hiking companion there, let me know. We can even take a bus to Jalpan and hike from there.

  2. Hey Grace, I too have spent days (& weeks) in the Sierra -I used to do field studies w/my friend Tamara up there- it definitely is beautiful, my best photography is from there. But I HAVE run into rattlers & unsavory types, not that this is much different than the States... but what is distinct is that it is almost all private property that you need to have a contact for, poorly marked & maintained trails, and in terms of gas especially, I don't like to drive 3-5 hrs to go for a decent walk. When Ruby's a little older, we'll hit the trail & give you a call.

  3. On 2nd thought, there *is* ONE place that's good for hiking that's less than an hour from here- Parque Nacional Cimatario, but we need to go get credenciales. My app is in, it should be ready by now.

  4. Well said Nicole. I also want to make camping and backpacking a part of my family's life. Nothing like simplifying and immersing yourself in nature to clear your mind and remember what is really important.


Your comments are welcome!