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Something about the great outdoors transforms him. Sometimes, even a brief walk to the lake 100 feet in front of our suburban house changes him from a 30 something business man to a weathered, rugged outdoorsman. It is admirable albeit humorous to see how quickly he can adapt to most surroundings and assimilate.

The change took place as soon as he saw the Blue Ridge mountain range of the Carolinas. He took off his city shoes and put on his hiking boots. He easily lit a campfire in the snow, pulled the logs from the woods and quietly spied on deer in the distance. He tracked animal foot prints in the snow (and efficiently determined they belonged to a dog…I know, but it still counts, right?!). He explored the woods and led the children through adventurous expeditions. He was tireless despite the chill that clung to his hands and feet. The mountain winds left his face lined and red, but his eyes still glowed.

It was good for my lumberjack of a husband to get away from our city life. It restored his mind and body. I am hopeful this new resurgence of self-reliance continues to thrive when we get home. Truthfully, it doesn’t cease to amaze me how quickly this man — who can hike the woods without a GPS and build a fire in the snow from scratch — can absent-mindedly forget where his phone, keys and wallet are each and every day.

I suspect his inner Thoreau has fully awakened and will not lie inert until our next visit to the woods.

West Jefferson, North Carolina

December 31, 2009