Sunday, August 26, 2018

On Hammocking In My Bedroom

I spend about one in eight weekend-nights sleeping in a hammock.

I don't have the patience to go out every weekend and find a place to camp, because the closest places to me are a four to five hour drive away, and by the end of that drive all I can think about is finding two well-spaced trees and not worrying about anything for at least eight hours.

So most of those one-in-eights are in my bedroom or my backyard.

I wish there were more trees where I live. I had to buy a stand to be able to hammock on a regular basis, between a shortage of trees in my backyard and a surplus of misconceptions in my state. I can hammock in park district parks near me, but only as long as I don't do any damage. I can't hang in county forest preserves because every last county around me either has a problem with hammocks themselves, or the people who use them, or because they had to write very generalized laws about protecting the wild around us because of a few selfish sods who don't know how to share.

In DuPage county, it's against the law to tie anything to a public tree.

In Kane county, hammocks are defined as "amusement contraptions," along with bouncy castles, and they require a permit.

In Cook and Will and Kendall counties, damage to trees carries a hefty fine.

And in all of these places, staying past sundown is tantamount to trespassing.

I say that I believe in Leave No Trace, but a lot of people--a lot of rule-makers--don't seem to know what that actually means. It's more than "take only memories and leave only footprints." It's more than collecting MOOP, regardless who was created it. It's about campioning for the green and the wilderness. It's doing what I can to preserve and protect nature.

I said last week that I'm not a leader. But I'm not a follower either.

I don't go out and lead marches, or participate in the only metric that seems to matter: the headcount. I don't clean up wilderness areas. I don't volunteer.

I appreciate. I write. I worship.

I look for ways to do more, to be more than just part of the headcount. That tends to involve a lot of dreaming and wishing, but those are two things I am very good at.

This was supposed to be an essay about why I only spend weekend-nights in a hammock--not because I don't sleep well, but because when I wake up, I don't want to get out--and instead turned into a diatribe of why I mostly do it hanging from two metal poles instead of where I really want to be: hanging from two trees.