Every summer my son, Gabe, and I head out for a
10-day father son trip. This year it’s Aug 8-18, so there will be no
Monday Morning Mojos for the next two Sundays. They are to be continued
again August 26.

father and sonWe
started when Gabe was three. Here we are in 2002, in the woods in
Virginia – he was four at the time. I recall he woke up in the middle
of the night in our tent with a scream – a bad dream. He took my hand
and put it under his head and went back to sleep immediately. I asked
him if was ok and he said simply, “Yes,” then he was out.

We have been up high on Mt Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the
Mississippi, several times.  We return there because the weather
is cool in August, too cool for mosquitos.  The last few times we
were there we created a time capsule – a note to ourselves we put in a
prescription bottle and bury. Then we dig it up when we return some 2-3
years later and read what we wrote.
father and son
A couple of years ago we went to Niagara Falls. We actually went into
the falls themselves, which was one of the most powerful experiences of
my life, feeling the full force of the water slam my body. I had so
much fun I went back a second time. We were wearing these stupid
ponchos, which did absolutely no good. We were soaked inside and out.
The hood on my back gathered about a gallon of water and on the way
out, Gabe dumped it down my back.

father and sonLast
year I got a Mohawk, which I enjoyed. This year Gabe is asking me to
shave off my beard because he has never seen me without one. I told him
I would if he didn’t shave at all. He now has a good first beard going.
It’s a bit wispy. He’s 15.

I have noticed it takes us 3-4 days to get into the deep conversations.
A door opens I can’t get to otherwise. Since we’re gone 10 days, it
still gives us a week to explore the territory we find there. We get
beneath the surface, and make the connection that sustains us. There
are things said between us that go no further because they have gone
far enough. They are building the bond of a lifetime and their magic is
already apparent.

These trips open me up to another way of living to, one that isn’t
based on work or family obligations. I get the chance to return to the
wilderness of the heart. We make fires and tell stories, walk silently
with the dog in the woods, play music over breakfast, and swim in
forested lakes together far away from ordinary life.

Getting off the grid is a kind of balance. It keeps me real, authentic.
I am reminded of what I care about most and then bring that back to my
work and family.

“off-grid” means
living without utilities, but also has a metaphorical meaning, which is
living kind of outside the system.

– Nick Rosen