Favorite place is off the grid

Kelsey Spurrier, General Columnist

I wake up at 5 a.m. because I can’t sleep, and walk toward the cabin door to go stand by the fire. It’s still going from the night before. Outside is frigid and foggy, but I can still see the mountains, and the trees towering along them. The sun will be coming up soon; aside from the stars late at night, this is my favorite part of the trip. I shuffle my way down the trail as I have so many times, to the bridge my dad made as a kid. It makes a sharp sound as I walk across, as if it’s about to break and throw me into the creek. This place is off the grid, and even though it’s just for a few days, this is the way I like it.

When I say off the grid, I mean it: This cabin cannot be found on your Google Maps. In fact, you wouldn’t even have service here to try to find it. My dad always says if there was ever an apocalypse, this is where we’d come. Even when the coyotes come close sometimes, and the Indian burial ground looms close by, my dad has made this my safe place. I’ve never been scared here, nestled in the woods of Oklahoma.

My favorite memory of being here occurred one morning  when I was little. I don’t remember the order in which everything happened or all the details — I just remember this inexplicable happiness. I woke up next to my dad right as the sun came up — our whole family was here in one of the four bunk beds, so we whispered as not to wake everyone up. I realized there was blood all over the pillow and started freaking out while trying to tell him about his injury. He noticed he had it all over him, and said he had fallen and hit his head. Later that morning, we talked about how I was supposed to have a different last name, and about our family’s history. I can still hear my dad laughing as we talked — his laugh here is always so genuine. It’s the one place where I know he is truly happy. He’s free. I feel that way, too.

I think the worst part is having to pack up our things up, not only because we have to carry suitcases and pots and pans but because there’s nothing left to look forward to. All that’s left is going home to the real world: the world with electricity, technology and cars. Do you ever get so excited about something you are looking forward to that you become restless the whole night before? That’s how it is for me the night before we go. But when it’s time to leave, it’s dreadful.

I take one last look, as I always do, in hopes that I’ll come back soon. Until then, all I have are my memories.