This weekend our KOA campground hosts its annual bluegrass festival. This event will bring the place to peak population and unofficially kicks off the camping season. The previously peaceful park will begin to ebb and flow with the flux of campers coming in on Friday and slipping out on Sunday.
This is an interesting culture to live in and observe. It’s like residing in a college town where the population wax and wanes with the school year, only on a micro-weekly level. During the week, the kids can roam and play among the open campsites hitting their stick-swords against the tree trunks and riding their bikes with abandon among the open lanes. When the weekend rolls around and the camp swells to capacity, the environment shifts and our country life becomes a micro-city. The best part is that both are uniquely fun and we enjoy the changing landscape that surrounds us.
Allow me to welcome you to our new home. The cultural irony does not escape me, but the fact remains that we could not be more excited or content with our new tiny home on wheels. In a country where the majority believe that bigger is bound to be better, swimming upstream with a lighter load feels exactly right to us.
If our possessions were milk, I could say that we have now skimmed off the most precious and useful cream to take with us. The rest of our belongings which were deemed worth keeping but not essential have been packed and stored away for an undetermined amount of time. As I’ve quoted before from the children’s book The Trumpet of the Swan, “Flying is a lot harder than it was before I acquired all these possessions. The best way to travel, really, is to travel light.” Freedom can be found in many forms, but for us, minimizing our possessions and limiting the space we need to manage and maintain, is truly freeing.
10 blog posts ago we moved from our little 5 acre piece of stability into an unknown adventure on the Clearwater River. We downsized our stuff and took on the role of mom and pop KOA living in the manager’s suite of a newly converted KOA campground.
For a year our front window has daily displayed a continuous caravan of campers coming and going from one adventure to another. We have been treated to many unexpected opportunities and a handful of humorous oddities like coming home and finding that your front porch has become a hangout for people you’ve never met or the preferred parking spot for Dads Dogs.
We’ve met some fun people too like the little old lady that visited each morning for a week to check her email via a dinosaur dialup internet connection and cheerfully encouraged me to keep up the good work homeschooling my children before she left.
Clearly I have no blogger etiquette. The last time I wrote an update, we were in the middle of a fire evacuation. In the last two months of silence, you have been left to assume that I’m either dead or have run out of things to say. Thankfully, neither is true. The fires have moved from our area and the air is as clean and crisp as fall apple should be. Despite the nearby hills of charred land, the RV park where we are living has rows of healthy mature Cottonwood trees that have given up the chlorophyll craze and are surrendering to themselves to bright hues of yellow. They release their leaves in a carefully choreographed pattern that mimics gently falling snow and because I am not responsible for leaf maintenance, I simply breathe in the active beauty that surrounds me.
It’s late evening. The sky should be dark but instead there is an ominous red casting an eerie glow over the hillside behind the RV park where we live. Reclining in a chaise lounge on our front patio area I am watching the hill illuminated by the wildfires that have been raging near our town since Monday morning. Only this evening has the fire approached a distance close enough to warrant an evacuation and like the flames themselves, the energy, concern and panic among those around me is both palatable and spreading.