Life in a 21-square foot mule wagon means you scrunch everything down ’til it fits. The only thing you can’t compress is time. I’ve gotten around that.
Mule Polly and I are spending the summer away from our North Carolina home. We’ve trailered out to Colorado where we’re raising the funds needed to complete the Lost Sea Expedition TV series. The 4-part series has been selected to premier on Rocky Mountain PBS.
Thing about me is I’m a really focused person. So much so that when I get in to something, like a wagon voyage, I can’t just take a week long trip. No, I have to go aaaallllll the way across America. And not content to just film a trip like that, I have to make it in to a TV series.
This comes with its own set of challenges. Like how to stay focused on the task on hand. Not suffer from “mission creep” as the military advisors warn.
That means this summer, instead of “just spending the summer in Colorado fundraising with mule Polly” I’ve set limits. I’ve capped the caper at 60 days.
Enter the calendar
Sure, I could have digitally ear marked 60 days in my phone or laptop calendar. Had some digital fart, bleep or synthesized bells tell me when my 1440 hours were up.
There are lots of apps where you enter a number and some algorithm that doesn’t know how time feels slipping away will count down, to the second, how much time is left. How much nap time, how many more days you have to work ’til summer break, how long your pasta boils. Hell, for the morbidly inclined, you can even count down the days ’til you, statistically, at least, should croak.
That whole digital countdown thing’s just not real enough for me. I’m a physical man. I drag firewood logs with a mule. I raise funds with a mule. I want to feel the world. I want to feel the time slip through my fingers just like the home made driving lines attached to Polly’s bit run across the callouses in my palms.
That’s why I made this little calendar to count down the 60 days of summer mule Polly and I have in Colorado.
Dental floss and notebook paper
I made the calendar out of one sheet of used notebook paper. I just cut that sheet in to 64 squares and bound it up with dental floss.
It hangs from my writing desk. Every morning, when I wake up in my wagon, I tear a tiny day our of my calendar. It’s a habit now. It makes me pause at the start of every day. Stop the moment I sit upright in my tiny wagon berth after a good night’s sleep. Reflect on how one more precious day is gone.
It’s a bitter sweet ritual, every morning, to tear another tiny day out of my stamp sized calendar. To roll the used day up between my thumb and forefinger. Turn it in to a speck of paper. Drop it in the box wine waste paper basket.. Move on.
Time is one of the only things I can’t compress to fit more of in to my wagon. Feeling those days slip, one tiny paper day at a time through my fingers, makes me fine with that.
I started with 60 days. I’m down to 49.
How do you keep track of your days?