My fiancée Natalie and I arrived in Idyllwild on Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m. The campsites were well spaced and it became clear we wouldn't have to come within 10 feet of another person if we didn't want to, so we felt comfortable taking off our masks. It was both incredibly refreshing to breathe non-city air for the first time this decade and also a little solemn, given that a major wildfire was raging about 30 miles away and its smoke was noticeable.
After setting up our tent, we walked to an empty picnic area to do a guided meditation through Headspace. About four minutes into the session (we had barely finished the body scan) my eyes shot open as I made an incredibly stressful realization. Natalie must have heard me groan or shift as she also opened her eyes and broke her focus to turn to me and ask me what had happened.
"How are we planning to cook our food?"
Though we'd spent much of the morning and the previous evening packing everything we thought we needed, including two bags of non-perishable food and a cooler full of burgers, hot dogs, eggs, and beverages, we had completely forgotten to pack a frying pan, a spatula, aluminum foil, cooking spray, and butter. I don't know why my brain chose that exact moment to float this information, but I broke the meditation and reacted much like Catherine O'Hara in "Home Alone."
Fortunately, Natalie was much more rational about the mistake. We could finish our meditation, and then drive into town (extremely close to the campsite) to buy what we needed. It took an extra few minutes, but I was finally able to lower my shoulders and settle into the space around me. The mix of nature sounds (predominantly birds) and manmade sounds (songs from a local church, other nearby campers) made for a pronounced shift. I realized how long it had been since I'd heard anything like this. Though the church songs were even a little distracting, I was mindful of their existence and the novel element of the experience.