Days 93-97: Vacationing in Murphy, NC, where Eric Robert Rudolph was Found

The reason for my blogging hiatus?? I’ve been on vacation completely off-the-grid. My current work studio is a cabin in Murphy, North Carolina, completely secluded from civilization, a babbling brook running beside us, a TV from the ‘80s and no internet.

In some ways this makes me extremely excited, and in others it makes me antsy. For one, I love being off the grid because it helps me think for myself. I often get caught up in the minutiae, attending to other people’s problems, work, etc. and being away makes me realize what I find important and what really needs to be tended to, which mostly boils down to eating. At the same time, being off the grid also means that my cell phone hasn’t gotten reception in days, there is no one I know in a 100-mile radius and Eric Rudolph, the Olympic park bomber, was captured in these woods. It’s enough to put a city slicker on high alert.

Mark and I were joined by our friends Tasha and Brian on Day 94. Brian was a Marine, so his presence answered the question, “what happens if some crazy person or bear tries to enter our apartment at night?”

And, for the record, all of these people can vouch for the fact that I was continually doing New Things, because while I may take a break from blogging and work, I can’t take a break from my resolution.

So on day 93, I made fire. Well, I should say that Mark and I started a fire without a starter log, matches, lighter fluid, lighters, etc….and we did, in fact, do this on purpose. I had picked up a magnesium fire-starting tool at REI before we left Atlanta. To start a blaze, you shave bits of magnesium from one side and set a spark to it with the other side of the tool. From there, hopefully, you can set some kindling on fire and encourage your dried logs to burn.

It sounds simple enough, but after thirty minutes of shaving and sparking, we finally got a flame big enough to catch kindling. After another thirty minutes of trying to keep our miniscule flame going by ripping out an entire notepad’s worth of paper piece by piece, we were finally charring bits of wood to the point where they were burning just a little. After two hours of blowing, fanning, feeding, adjusting and inhaling smoke, we had a cozy little fire with which to roast a couple marshmallows.

So, I can say that Mark successfully lit that particular flame, but the collective effort of multiple hours of coercing our baby bonfire dictates that we have to share this New Thing.

On Day 94, I carved our initials into a tree. Is it a little corny? Yes, but Mark is the first man I’ve ever loved, and thought it would be sweet to carve it in something that will likely be around longer than the two of us.
I don’t feel like justifying it, and I know I’ll get a lot of rolled eyes for this New Thing, but I’m glad to have done it. They tell you to leave your mark on the world, so there it is, as literal as can be.

On Day 95, the four of us ventured out into the woods, where I used a hatchet. I didn’t know anything about hatchets until this weekend, except that you should bury them. They’re actually just small axes and serve all the same purpose as their larger cousin. I said I wanted to hatchet down a small tree, but realized I was joking when I took the first whack at it (those trees are just as alive as me or you!(God I'm such a hippie))…so I stuck to dead branches. They’re easier to whack anyway. It was fun, and I had surprisingly good aim considering my history of lacking any semblance of hand-eye coordination. I didn’t chop all the way through it, because I tuckered out and was feeling lazy, but it was still fun.

On Day 96, Tasha and Brian left, and Mark and I needed company, so I carved a banana friend. I then turned him into parts for microwave banana smores…which were undeniably delicious.

On Day 97, we had to leave the cabin by noon, and, not wanting to go home yet, we took the opportunity to wander around downtown Murphy, which is apparently known for antiques. So, I went antiquing in Murphy as my new thing, but I have to admit that the “antiques” were really just “cool-looking, semi-ornate tchochkies that your grandmother would think are pretty okay.” I didn't take a picture of the things I bought because they will end up as Christmas gifts for people who read this blog, but I did find this amazing hat in one of the Murphy stores.

Says, "We the people; The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"
AND, while running around Murphy, I ran into a woman whose maiden name was Fulford and whose family comes from Geneva, Alabama, which could be dangerously close to family. Small world.

Overall, it was a relaxing and recharging kind of weekend, and I’m all pumped for Christmas and other vacations to come :)

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