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Not being able to leave the house empty handed is one of those less-pleasant realities of mother-hood. Granted, now that my children are both school aged — out of diapers and self ambulatory — we travel a bit lighter. Except for those days when we go to visit my parents, and the dog and the guinea pig, and her cage, and half of the books on our book shelf just have to come with us.
And whenever I look in the rear view mirror at the seeming mountains of stuff in the car, I’m reminded of the time I took a hike with baby Isla up a nearby mountain and ran into yoga mat, bikini girl.
When we got to the trailhead there was just one other car, a newish Subaru Outback, parked there. It took close to ten full minutes to stock the Kelty backpack with a spare diaper and wipes, snacks, water, sunscreen, and a dog leash, and then get Isla situated into it.
I walked passed the Subaru and looked in the windows for a clue about what sort of fellow hiker I might meet up with on top. The front seats were entirely free of clutter– even the passenger side, which in my car is used as an all-purpose storage and waste bin. In the back seat were just three simple items: a yoga mat, a beach towel and a bikini.
I contemplated this unencumbered scene for far too long, just taking in the simplicity, the possibilities of it all. I tried to remember what it felt like to travel with nothing more than the clothes on my back and something to swim in.
The yoga mat added intrigue. It said that this person, a woman obviously, had time and space and the sense to do something completely selfish and self nurturing with it.
The bikini? Well just those two tiny pieces of stretchy fabric held worlds of significance. And the way they were so neatly folded and placed on top of a folded towel……..
The sound of a fussing child and a whining dog shattered my reverie. So I continued on. I met the owner of the bikini and the yoga mat and the towel about halfway up the trail. She was coming down. I’m guessing she was in her late 20s. Pretty and fit.
We smiled at each other. She reached down to pat my dog and smiled at Isla. And I couldn’t help but wonder if she was maybe fantasizing about one day having a dog and a kid of her own to take with her up the mountain. And it pleased me to know that she would probably never imagine, in a million years, that I was fantasizing about an empty, dog-hair free car, a yoga mat, a bikini and a beach towel.
[photo: via TMGR]