Last week I spent a few hours here and there preparing. I got all the equipment out of storage. I checked everything was in working order. I planned meals and shopped for provisions. I organized and made lists and packed. I took 3 slow days off from work and prepared to spend them camping. 2 days and 2 nights in the rolling mountains of Shenandoah, solo. I wanted to spend some quiet time away from home surrounded by trees and scenic vistas. I wanted to lay in a hammock and read endlessly while listening to the wind in the leaves of the trees around me. I wanted to do it before my next surgery and before the threat of cold nights were peppered with the possibility of snow. Mostly, I wanted to go because it’s something the Sailor and I usually do together and I miss him. You see, he’s deployed right now for 7 long months. We have about 4.5 left to go. He’s somewhere over on the other side of the world camping out on a hot African beach or floating around in some foreign sea and I’m here in Virginia and it sucks. I thought maybe a little short foray into the mountains “like normal” might make it feel more “normal” even with him gone but, it didn’t. Making a fire at night didn’t hold the fun and excitement it should have because his pyro ass wasn’t the one making it. Sitting next to the orange glow didn’t warm my soul like it usually does because there wasn’t another chair next to me staring at it. So I laid in my hammock read books warmed by the sun and rocked by the breeze. I knit and colored. At dark, I stared at the fire eating sandwiches. And when I laid down in my tent I looked up at the same stars that hopefull he got to look at 8 hours earlier and let myself be sad knowing that missing his stupid face is OK. And driving 4 hours away to to escape all his things in the little apartment we share together to cope with it is ok too.