Retire from Society Completely I Did Not

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Build, therefore, your own world. As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions. A correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit. So fast will disagreeable appearances, swine, spiders, snakes, pests, mad-houses, prisons, enemies, vanish; they are temporary and shall be no more seen.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, from the conclusion of Nature

To go into the woods and camp. That’s what we did for four days last week. Oh, true, it was a far cry from a traditionalist’s idea of “getting away from it all.” We drove into Canada. We packed a large nine-person tent for my wife, the dog, and me. We had coolers with cold cuts and ground turkey and lox and bagels and crackers and soda and eggs and bacon. We camped at a site half a mile from modern shower and toilet facilities. Oh, and Area 3 at the Pinery Provincial Park, where we made camp, is only about ten kilometers from the little town of Grand Bend, Ontario.

Not necessarily what Emerson was talking about when he wrote about going into solitude, “to retire as much from his chamber as from society.” Yet the two-hour drive, crossing of the Canadian border and not using mobile devices, and setting up camp for four days in a somewhat-secluded camping area that doesn’t allow radios… it all blended perfectly to create a much-needed escape from the world.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to leave my Type 1 diabetes behind. But you know what? Although I brought diabetes with me, that time away from the routines and lifestyle that help me maintain tight control didn’t seem to be much a factor. The entirety of the trip I didn’t suffer one low blood glucose; I also never went high. The entirety of the trip I ate in moderation, avoided overdoing the sweets that a campfire just begs you to partake of — s’mores, pie-iron cherry and blueberry pies, potato chips, etc.

The entirety of the trip I paid little attention to my diabetes. The result? I was rewarded by it paying little attention to me.

This smooth sailing wasn’t lucky. It wasn’t a fluke. Because I have good self-management the other 361 days of the year, my body was ready to sit on this amended cruise control for a few days. Also, there’s something to be said for a vacation of leisure and “doing nothing” wherein the nothing means setting up camp, hour-long trail hikes with Kathryn and the dog, fire-building and constant tending, clean-up after meals, walks to the facilities to shower, and sleeping in forty-degree nights, during which the body burns more calories to stay warm.

It was the kind of experience that, looking back, part of me thinks maybe I ought to have checked my blood glucose a little more often, or maybe I ought to have paid closer attention to what I put into my body. Like I said, though, it was vacation, it went very well, and I’m not going to question too heavily that which works.

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