If you spend too much time inside or too much time in the city, you inevitably forget certain things. You forget the pink and orange clouds of a sunset over the mountains. You forget the frigid feeling of a mountain river as it flows around your feet. You forget the sound leaves make as they crackle under your steps. And you forget the nostalgic smell of woodsmoke as it drifts from a fire. But most importantly, you forget the feeling of peace that can only be found in the mountains.
I’ve spent too much time inside and too much time in the city lately. My waist has grown bigger from the fine dining. My hands and feet have grown soft from the lack of strenuous activity. And my mind has grown clouded with the thoughts of city life. I needed a break from the traffic and its acrid exhaust. I needed a moment to slow down, to sit in front of a fire and write – not for publication but for pure enjoyment.
My family and I just returned from an extended weekend trip to a spectacular cabin (thank you, CRT) in the mountains of West Virginia. We fished for trout. We hiked. We cooked by the fire. And we spent time being a family. Even with three of the four children and my wife with me, I still found time to write, and when I wrote, I found myself writing stories and topics perfect for SmoothingIt.com. I’ve missed SmoothingIt. Blogging about the outdoors was an enjoyable time in my life. Not only did it connect me with like–minded writers and woodsmen, it also provided incentive to spend time outside, camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing, or just staring at the clouds with my family.
In my other lives, I’ve had many names: Variations of my first name, my first and middle names, my last name, several nicknames, and a chosen name for literary publication (I even tried my hand at blogging under this name), but a conversation with my daughter as we walked along a winding river between steep mountainsides reminded me of who I really am. She had jokingly called me by my first name. I replied, “You can call me dad, daddy, or sir, but never my first name.” I looked out at the shoals just above our next trout–fishing hole, felt a deep sense of tranquility, and added, “Or out here, you can call me Duncan.”