Shedding It

Adventures in peace and quiet

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

There were six of us trying to live in a two-bedroom rental cabin in Glacier that winter. Money was tight. Floor space was at a serious premium.

Compounding these issues were the increasingly detrimental effects of an insidiously popular and (then) brand-new video game called “Grand Theft Auto.” With my own eyes, I watched all five of my cabin mates became addicted to it.

Suddenly—almost literally overnight—they went from spending every possible moment hitting mad kickers and carving deep turns through the heavies to investing the majority of their time and energy huddled around a 60-inch big screen with the surround-sound cranked up so loud that a freight train full of screaming hyenas could have come roaring through our walls and nobody would have been able to hear it over all the gratuitous street crime and violence.

Inevitably, it became exceedingly difficult for me to catch a proper night’s sleep. And the less sleep I managed to get, the more nerve-strained and primordial I grew.

Driven near to the breaking point on a daily basis, I soon decided to set up camp on our back deck so I could lay down and count my blessings peaceably amongst the frosty, hibernating-friendly quietude of the Upper North Fork Valley.

Unfortunately, our back deck wasn’t even close to being far enough away to muffle the resonating catastrophe of simulated gang warfare emanating unabated from our living room. So I promptly gathered my bed things and plunged ever-deeper and away into the night.

I ran and I ran and I ran. And when I finally stopped, I found the forest had sufficiently enveloped me. Immersed in the darkness, I couldn’t immediately discern where I’d escaped to. But wherever it was, it felt better and exceedingly more mellow than the obnoxious orgy of synaptic obliteration I’d just escaped.

Gradually, as my night vision intensified, I was able to see that I was standing in front of our woodshed—a cozy little weatherproof outbuilding full of kiln-dried mill ends that we used to heat our cabin.

“Jackpot!” I thought as dragged my -40 F sleeping bag in through the door and spread it out on a bed of smooth, solid wood.

Finally, at long last, I managed to lay down comfortably and quietly enough to listen to owls hoot and hear my own breath again. The ensuing slumber proved as deep as it was bottomless. Ten years might just as easily have passed in the precious few hours I nodded off.

I wound up spending quite a bit of time reading, meditating and counting sheep in that woodshed over the next few months. And the season kept getting better.

SVCR Don McLean
More Outdoors...
Recreation Roundup
An all-season outdoor expo

As I write these words from my perch on the sixth floor of the Herald Building, it’s early February and our corner of the world is blanketed in approximately six inches of still-accumulating snow. 

Despite the winter weather, Bellinghamsters are still out and about in full force. So far…

more »
Nordic Night
Putting the kick in cross-country

“It’s the perfect way to fly,” my old trail crew buddy Tryg said as he jammed his ski poles into the snow and pushed off into the night.

He was right. Even moving uphill on a pair of heirloom Madshus 210s he glided over the groomers so quickly and with such little apparent effort…

more »
Couples Therapy
The ins and outs of love

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to commemorate Valentine’s Day by gazing at your paramour across a candle-lit table, we’ve compiled a few alternate ways to spend time with your sweeties of choice in the coming days. They all involve going outside for an extended period of time, so…

more »
Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Fairhaven Food Fest

11:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Refugee Talk

2:00pm|Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

Northwest Cancer Summit

2:00pm|Bellingham Golf and Country Club

Sting and Piano Chamber Concert

3:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

The Tao of Raven

4:00pm|Village Books

Making time with Oscar


The Irish Rovers

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

MBT Pirates Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Fairhaven Food Fest

11:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Ancestry & Genealogy

1:00pm|Ferndale Library

Make Monday Matter

4:00pm|Everson Library

Library Tour

6:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Cuban Salsa

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Yoga for Outdoor Fitness


Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Swing Dance

8:00pm|Eagles Hall


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


9:30pm|Green Frog

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books
Fairhaven Food Fest

11:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Chuckanut Radio Hour

6:30pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Winter Bistro

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Winter Classics

6:30pm|Gretchen's Kitchen

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Loons of the Salish Sea

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall


7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Geology Underfoot

7:00pm|Ferndale Library

Books on Tap

7:00pm|Maggie's Pub

Gather Round

7:00pm|Honey Moon Mead & Cider

see our complete calendar »

MBT LOL Village Books Trove Bellingham Technical College Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Farmer’s Market