If the best day of every month is the last day of every month, does that mean that I’m really good at living in the moment I’m in or that my memory remembers things worse than they are? Or maybe that thinking about my best days reminds me to appreciate my days making them better than the days that I’m not thinking about? Maybe it’s just that I’ve randomly had a couple of really good campgrounds at the ends of recent months.
But April 29th, 2018 was the peak of a remarkably nice month. The month started in Arkansas, took a brief dip into Oklahoma, and ended in Georgia. With one parking lot, one random field, two national campgrounds, three state parks, and five Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, it included the luxurious baths at Hot Springs, a sprinkling of snow in Dam Site Lake, a waterfall in Oklahoma, a very mellow and peaceful birthday that was highly sociable considering I spent the entire day alone in the van, and a lot of good writing.
But my favorite day was this Sunday.
In part, it was because the campground was absolutely beautiful and at a beautiful time of year. I definitely regretted giving up my inflatable kayak, because it was a perfect campsite and perfect weather for kayaking. The day started cool, but warmed up to the mid-70s. I spent it… well, puttering around, really.
I’d finally found gluten-free oats at a grocery store in Alabama, so I baked granola in the morning and was very, very happy to be eating my own granola again. This version was heavy on the ginger and the pumpkin seeds.
I didn’t have a lot of food in the van, so wound up making a quinoa bowl with steak, avocado, cucumber, red onion, and a dressing of Greek yogurt, mint, lime juice and chili garlic sauce for lunch. It sounds wrong, I suppose, that not having much food led to such a tasty meal but I was out of salad greens and most of my usual vegetables, which is why I was relying on quinoa to fill me up. It did and it was delicious, too. And also just a really nice little cooking project of the “and what can I do with this?” ilk. I love that experience of feeling like there’s nothing to eat and then discovering that in fact I have everything I need to make something delicious. Maybe the only thing I ever really need is the imagination to put the pieces together?
I had a water hook-up and empty tanks, plus knew that I could dump the tanks the next day, so I was absolutely profligate with my water use, washing my dishes in hot water and rinsing them thoroughly, and then washing some dishes that I hadn’t used but that couldn’t hurt to be a bit cleaner. When I owned a dishwasher, I never knew how satisfying truly clean dishes could be.
I read books that I’d read before, I sat in my outside chair in the sun, I snuggled Zelda when she’d allow it, and I took a couple very mellow walks — more like saunters, really. I’m pretty sure I spent a couple of hours on a jigsaw puzzle; I’m quite sure that my writing was minimal, just journaling. I had a lovely conversation with R, in which he told me that we had to change our Mother’s Day plans, because he was not going to spoil my day with a movie that would make me unhappy for hours, ha. (We have a long-standing tradition of superhero movies on Mother’s Day. This year’s is maybe too grim for me, however.)
And I appreciated the air and the birdsong and the water view and my life. It’s so easy for the days to blend together — even when they’re good days, even when I like them. One good day follows the next and the highlight is a good meal that’s a lot like some other good meal from a week earlier, and I remember to be grateful but I don’t remember to savor the moment I’m in.
I forget to breathe and return to worry.
But after two long days of driving and with more driving ahead of me, a peaceful day in a beautiful place where my biggest ambition was to talk Zelda into eating some dog food was golden.