Scamp is the Marie Kondo of the trailer world. It’s the stripped down, less is more, function is form kind of mobile living. Its simple brilliance can never be missed as the flash of red and white zips past on the interstate. But it will likely appear underwhelming. Like a lost baby tooth in a pile of ivory tusks. Until you look behind the plastic. Behind la fibra. It reminds us that the Zen imperative to do simple things well is far more masterful than dazzling with excess and extravagance. With ample resources, extravagance is easy and artless.
It is true that if you have the space, you will fill it. So why add extra space, when 10x6x6 fits a family and most of their things. It is 360 cu feet and one thousand pounds of luscious fibral comfort. Fiber glass minimalist dimensions scouring our belongings like dietary fiber scouring our intestines.
Our Scamp is a petrified marshmallow riding a straining steel pretzel chassis. A macadamia nut, unsalted and without added oils. At high speeds it is an Undeniably Fun Omnipod. With the simplest of modifications we are certain it would float. Like a coconut. She is the O of a cosmic Om, reminding us that the shape’s most important function is the space it contains. The point is not the fiberglass shell itself, but the space it creates within. The space we fill with our family’s existence. Like the invisible center of a hula-hoop, the circle is only there to allow for the dance within. Without a dance, the hula-hoop is a failed attempt at a chariot wheel.
She has no name other than La Tortuga. We are the Hares, with our bridle on the tortoise. Though our connection is to the sea turtles, the tortoise equivalent will suffice for the fable she invokes. La Tortuga is a name recently found. For years we thought she was Scampy but, in fact, she has been La Tortuga all along. Channeling Che’s ironic and iconic motocicleta La Poderosa, we find the name animating and more than a metaphor. Sea turtles journey as far as any creatures currently in existence. Very few of those born into the sea turtle body ever are allowed to live their lives before being poached for their eggs, chomped by coyotes for breakfast, snatched by seagulls for their lunch, or gulped by grouper for their afternoon snack. The most fortunate live long, meandering lives, perhaps even hundreds of years. They cross vast oceans yet their home is the shell on their back, always available. They live slowly. They breathe slowly. Perhaps it is the shallow, accelerated breath of humans that shortens our lives and oxidizes our innards. Little is known about what nurtures longevity, but there is certainty that it involves slow movements, a certain amount of food and environmental stress, cold, water (although many millennial plants seem to prefer limited hydration), and an absolute ease in one’s environment. These are the lessons of our Tortuga as well. With La Tortuga as our guide and as our protective shield, we Hares settled back into OUR comfort zone.
Traumatic events such as the COVID-19 pandemic bring each of us back to our core tendencies. As a family it is revealing that our core tendency is to retreat into La Tortuga, with a simple life lived outdoors as our most reliable True North. After two months of attempting to rebuild balance in our home during the early pandemic days, schooling, working, living, eating, arguing, on top of one another in our home in Colorado, we decided to move into La Tortuga. First to our land in a canyon above Boulder and then on the road where we find ourselves still, many months later.
We popped our heads out of her generous shell throughout the Rockies, on a heroic garlic seed homestead in down east Maine, in the red and white crags under blue skies of Appalachia, on a dear friends’ farm in western North Carolina, in southern swamps of Georgia and Florida, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge (we’ll burn that bridge’s name when we come to it?) of Selma, in climbing camps tucked in the Ozarks, in red-rock canyons of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, above coral shelves of the Gulf of California, in various palm-lined oases of peninsular Sierras Bajeñas, beside lapping aquamarine waters of protective bays or pounding Pacific breaks, and beneath big trees of the US Pacific Northwest.
Comfort for us is a morning bird chorus, a weave with living systems rather than digital, removal from political chitter chatter of both the left, right, and the wrong kind, a clock marked by sunsets, sunrises, and stars, a set of daily functions such as pooping, peeing, cooking, cleaning conducted entirely outdoors, and a healthy buffering from the definitively mad human behavior that a pandemic has exacerbated.
Looking back at what was the most defining and intense years of our collective, recent planetary lives, our journey in La Tortuga from June 2020-October 2021 may have been the best these Hares were capable of, ALL considered.