The Front Porch: A Warning to Democrats

In light of the storm clouds that only seem to be getting darker as we approach the Democratic National Convention, I thought I’d enlighten left-leaning folks with a short narrative on settling.

Four years ago some friends and I took an early spring hike up a small but rapid and roaring river valley. We aimed toward a dot on the map called Camp Nine. Though none of us had ever been there, we entertained grand notions of how superb it would be, relaxing at a sheltered, mountain camp deep in the wilderness. We do this every time, romanticize our excursions while somehow forgetting past fiascos.

When it began raining a mile into the trek, we were acutely reminded of the unpredictability of spring weather. Compounded with a late start and the approaching darkness we had no choice but to set up camp before reaching our destination. We stopped in a snag of fallen pine, burned out by fire 10 years ago.

On slightly sandy soil, next to the Mad River we slept and named the place “Camp Eight Point Five”. You may be thinking today, 4 years later we’ve taken to idealizing Camp Nine; we haven’t. In fact, I don’t think any of us care if we ever see it; we put Camp 8.5 on that pedestal instead. We’ve written poems, talked it up to associates, composed a song; all in the name of 8.5.
Last year we went back and took the women and although they had heard every word about it, when we arrived they saw it for what it was: an ugly place, dull and gray in an otherwise lush and beautiful forest; evidently they were expecting more. I still haven’t heard the end of it, “Hey look, honey! That’s a perfect spot for ‘Camp Not-a-Hellhole’”.

Yes, (now this is for you, so pay attention) it is easy to deceive yourself into thinking that where you ended up is better than where you could have been. There is nothing inherently wrong with finishing somewhere you didn’t intend, but make sure if you fall short you see it for what it is. It’s not Camp 8.5 that is so great, but rather the adventure that landed us there. We’ve only completed half the story. So this is my advice to you as well: don’t accept dull grey before you’ve seen Camp Nine.