I’d love an alpine lake, thanks.

I wrote this post yesterday afternoon, and intended to edit it before posting so had it sitting in my drafts folder. Now it’s the next day, and I couldn’t sleep last night until I took a pill at 4 am. The general feelings of contentment and tiredness that I’d had at bedtime were completely hijacked by anxiety over what I’m doing with my life. It all seems ridiculous in the light of day, but sends my mind racing at night. Kinda makes life on a remote alpine lake all the more appealing. Le sigh.


I’ve been reading a lot lately, as part of my work to regain an attention span and enthusiasm for all that life has to offer.  For the most part, I need to stick to how-to manuals at bedtime, so that my mind can carry my love for planning and making things right into my dreams, without a plot or any characters to create tension or feed anxieties.  Novels do this to me, especially if I identify with the protagonist, and a late-night read can get my mind racing into an insomniacal fit like nothing else.  So instead, at night I read about building stone walls, canning caramelized onion relish, and identifying wild spring greens.

My exception to this rule is non-fiction memoir, because though there’s a protagonist, the fact that they’ve survived to write the book apparently quells the subconscious worries that could stop me from sleeping.  The most recent of such books I finished this morning, and it went beyond entertainment into inspiration.  Titled Diary of a Wilderness Dweller, it is Chris Czajkowski’s account of building a life at the edge of a remote lake in the Coast Range mountains during the late 1980s, with only her dog for company and the plan to start a business guiding artists and backpackers on hikes through the region. I absolutely loved it, not only for the author’s vivid descriptions of building cabins and clearing trails, but also because it made me feel like I can anything.

As soon as I finished reading it, I looked up the name of her business and discovered that it’s for sale: http://www.nuktessli.ca/nuk-tessli-for-sale.html
How awesome that Czajkowski’s still out there, and how wonderful that she’s moving on simply because she wants to see new things!

Now, as the daughter of two Torontonians who tried to make it in rural Ontario during the back-to-the-land movement of the late 1970s, I stand well-prepared to deal with my inherited love of wilderness adventure, and admit that I’m very tempted by the chance to run a business like Nuk Tessli… Especially for the incredibly low sum of $195,000! But I’m afraid that I’m currently too committed to see my electrician career get going, and I don’t know how Oats would feel about living somewhere so remote. She’s a great one for hiking, and would certainly love the chance it could afford her to spend time working on her paintings and illustrations, but it would still be very different from what either of us are used to. Even Mo might hate it, given that he’s scared of water and wind. And the cat… Well, she’d just never leave the cabin, so may never notice.

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6 responses to “I’d love an alpine lake, thanks.

  1. Hey friend,

    I hope you can keep finding inspiration in pages of books and conversations with friends. I know that these will all translate into plans. projects and excitement.

    Just in case you are not doing this, here is something I have been meaning to tell you; be kind to yourself.

    At all times be aware that your brain requires you to rest. It’s like passing out, which happens because the brain needs more clean blood. The fact that one could be coshed over the head seems like poor planning on the part of said brain, but, you know, details.

    You have done a great many great things and will continue to do so. I have always identified you as “FG, my friend, you know, the one who can fix/make/do anything”.

    I have been going on. I must go because I have a deadline looming, but! You take care!

    • feralgeographer

      Thanks, Sum… Yes, I know that part of my problem is that I’m harder on myself than others are… Then I start to worry about *that*, which again feeds the anxiety cycle… Le sigh.

      Last night I got 12.5 hours, though! It was bliss.

  2. In the editing class I took as part of my master’s, we edited Chris’ most recent book. What a life! Thanks for the update on her situation.

    • feralgeographer

      Oh, that’s so neat! I loved reading about her hiking out from Nuk Tessli with a roll of paintings to sell in Williams Lake or Bella Coola or wherever, and depending on their sale in order to pay for nails or roofing or whatever else she needed for her cabin… I’m glad that her books have been successfull enough for her to avoid doing that anymore!

  3. The absolute best complements I have ever had from my books are those when the reader says he/she feels that, after reading it, she can do anything! I am 63 now, building my 6th cabin, and working on books # 9, 10, and 11 (in various stages.) I also have great plans to visit other remote mountains all over the world. Thanks for your kind words.

    • feralgeographer

      Thank YOU for commenting, Chris, and for writing and simply BEING! I’ve ordered your other books from the local library, and look forward to reading about your further adventures, wherever they may take you.

      I also hope that someone who truly loves Nuk Tessli buys it and keeps it going for many years to come, so that I can visit!

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