Thursday, November 12, 2009


I got my flyer for guitar camp in the mail today. Ordinarily by this time I would've had mine filled out, sent in, and my flight reservation made, but B and I decided after last year that if the camp were held in the usual venue, we wouldn't be going. Camp is held in Northern California in an antiquated farmhouse that is so cold that you can see your breath indoors, thanks to a single inadequate woodstove meant to heat the whole place. There is also something in the house, some combination of age and the ever-present dampness, that has made the place into a sick building. Several of us suffered severe allergy attacks last year, including myself, and it was bad enough that a couple people actually had to leave.

The place was quaint the first and third year; the second year I spent cozied up in a B&B in town with A. The fourth year camp was cancelled, and B and I were comfortably ensconced in a hotel in The City, and last year, though I loved camp and my fellow campers, I was really over the quaint, and the cold, and the tricky toilets, and the allergies.

But although our presence at camp was debated between us, I really wasn't ready to NOT go last year. I wasn't ready to NOT make that pilgrimage to the roads A and I had wandered together. I wasn't ready to give up my only reason for going to northern California anymore. I'm not sure I'm ready now, but I do know, at least, that practical considerations are outweighing the nostalgia. All told, it costs me about a grand to make the trip. I don't want to spend that kind of money to find myself wheezing and freezing.

I knew before I left last year that was the case, and I made a point to say my goodbyes to the place. B was a dear, and walked through all the shops A and I had peeked into, and ate at the restaurant he'd said was good with me. Some places I had to do on my own, like the B&B. I can still remember how the rain sounded on the street outside our window as we cuddled in the yellow flannel sheets.

There are ghosts of memory there, and in some ways, I think it might not be such a bad thing to not keep going back and stirring them up. I had hoped that camp would be moved, as it was discussed after people left camp early because of getting sick, and then I'd still get to go to Northern California, but in a new context. But that plan seems to have evaporated.

The flyer arriving sharpened the point of my awareness of what is NOT happening this year, and I have to admit, I'm a bit wistful. One more thing I'm letting go. I've felt so much anguish over being forced to let go of all kinds of things beyond just A himself, but there's a quieter angst, a resignation, to those things I have let go voluntarily because it's no longer sensible to hold on to them. It's easier, because those things I've tended to do in their time, but it's not exactly easy.

B and I have plans for that weekend anyway, involving a little road trip up the interstate and music, and I'm looking forward to that. Still, it will be different, and I will feel it. It's a sigh and a shrug and another step. So far, I'm not regretting not going; I'm regretting that things just don't stay the same. I suppose that it was foolish to ever think they would, but I can't help but notice that there are a lot of things in my life, mostly annoying things, that seem to have unbelievable endurance. I suppose its some kind of blessing that I'm one of them.

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