Rustic Cyberpunk

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2 min read

There have been, amazingly, only two moments in my life where I was utterly lost in the woods, with no obvious clues as to where I am and where should be going. First time was from my sophmoric overconfidence with technology during my first solo camping trip. The second was when I was too distracted by my own thoughts to take note of the trail.

The realization the first time was disquieting. A cold wall of silence approaching my reality at light speed, as if the universe just discovered the edge of its false vacuum. The second time was oddly humorous, but I took it no less seriously.

GPS is a remarkable invention, but I've paid a heavy price for it. My map reading skills have severely atrophied since GPS came into my life. This is entirely my fault since the convenience of exploring civilization was far too enticing and so, little-by-little, I let go of discovering nature by following drawings of its topology. The last time I actually used a physical map and a magnetic compass while camping was back in 2010.

Since losing my way is always a possibility, even when simply hiking, I've kept handy trail markers with me ever since.

The lesson I learned from Hansel and Gretel, besides not entering suspicious cottages found in the woods, is that any edible substance left behind will quickly be gobbled up by the local fauna. Inedible substances may still be distrubed, but likely found nearby again once the fauna discovers its lack of nutritional value.

I now keep two decks of cards in my pack at all times. One for actual play and is plastic. The other is plain paper with just a glossy coating, which will return to nature when left exposed to the elements.

Two decks of cards
The brands don't really matter as long as they serve their function. I simply like the color red, besides its contrast against a carpet of white snow.

Waterproof cards are a must for actual play. It's physically impossible to keep a deck of cards dry, for any meaningful length of time, while playing outdoors. Even in a dry spell, a drop will manifest from the aether to harrass the ink. A disposable deck, however, must not tolerate water at all in order for it to disappear eventually.

I hope I'll get a chance to go camping again this winter, but financial and world realities are such that it seems a reach. What I miss the most in camping is not just the solitude; It's also the joy of existing in the present.

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