"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

28 January 2012


You really don't understand how solar-powered you are until you end up somewhere without sunlight. Or even direct sunlight. Those who live near the poles and in mountains can dig what I'm talking about easier than those at lower latitudes and in flat places. Once upon a time, I would've taken my opening statement as the rambling of the mad.

You really don't understand how solar-powered you are until you're away from artificial light sources. Camping is the easiest way to remedy that. Getting far and away from cities. And I do not mean hanging about in some public campground surrounded by RVs with all the comforts of that safe and cushy home back in whatever urban place you decided to get away from for a weekend.

No, I mean camping. That John Muir keeping-it-real, Into the Wild-sans the death part-going out into the rugged bush and getting down and dirty with your inner Cro-Magnon. When the only light you might have after the sun sets and stars are out is a fire. It doesn't matter how well-rested you feel beforehand, mark my words, it gets full dark, and you're sleepy. Dawn comes, and you're up, ready-set-go! with a spring in your step.

The first time you truly experience this, it's the queerest thing. Believe me, I know. Until then, it's easy to think such things only happen to crazy people who live in the in-between places, read too much National Geographic and are perpetually dressed like they're on a walkabout. Crazy talk.

In the deep winter, it can be twenty-eight quaint 'merican degrees on the fahrenheit scale with a slight breeze making it feel like it's maybe twenty, but, if the sun's out, that's somehow not so bad. Somehow, a sunny day, no matter how brisk, is so much nicer than a gray one with similar conditions. Just seeing the slivers of sun through snow clouds after a storm can invite a smile.

We are solar-powered beings, and the sooner you accept it, no matter your nocturnal facade, the better off you'll be... 

Once more, the sun has peaked over the ridge line, giving the house the benefit of direct sunlight. As with every year, this is cause for excitement. It may be deep winter, but, suddenly, it's not so horrible. I can step out my front door and catch the sun on my face. Suddenly, the world seems just that much brighter.


  1. Personally, I like a good storm. I will admit, though, the shining sun is nice, in small doses.

    1. Storms are nice too. Even and especially the way clouds hang off the peaks during and after. We could use a good one right now, but that's because, at best, we're twenty-percent below normal snow pack.

      Still, after six weeks without direct sun...