The Star-Herald

Finding hope in a metaphor

It was apparent that the self-contained camper had been abandoned long ago. Each time I went out exploring (riding around secondary roads in the area), I noticed the deserted vessel sitting serenely in its exclusive spot.

I found myself creating all sorts of scenarios in regard to the camper’s younger days, the original owners and the miles traveled.

The camper was pure silver chrome, an indication to me through research that this particular vehicle must have been costly; not only in price but in maintenance. Why was it left behind? Surely, someone must have loved that old camper at one time. Now, it sits idle while the earth continues on its axis and life continues to bloom. Eventually, the elements will win and the camper will crumble; becoming nothing than more than rubble on the ground. 

The camper is an inanimate object, an invention created by humankind and the required technology that is forever growing and becoming more intricate with time. I see the camper in a different glow, my friends. I compare its fate to that of a broken spirit and a shattered heart with no further direction or purpose, lost on a path that leads nowhere. The tiny house on wheels was once filled with color and laughter and adventure. It is now more than likely a haven for tiny woods creatures and stubborn wild weeds. 

I recall, in my own life, the rush of hopelessness and discarded dreams. I sat dormant, surrounded by life and beauty with no desire or strength to move. Some refer to such a life reaction as clinical depression and there are various reasons offered for this transition: overwhelming loss, disease or a chemical imbalance. I was able to function to a certain degree, but I was lost in a field of buried dreams, and quite content to succumb to a broken spirit and a shattered heart. From the emptiness I allowed myself to wallow in, someone stepped forward, offering color, laughter, reason and an authentic love. It was as if the doors of the camper were opened up, and someone hung up pink, ruffled curtains, hooked up a generator, switched on the lights and turned the music up loud.

The treatment of depression does not always involve a new love or opportunity. Depression is a serious and debilitating disease and I do not intend for my comparison to my own bout with depression to be lighthearted. Depression needs to be addressed with a medical professional and treated as is appropriate. If you are feeling overwhelmed, desolate or deeply sad, please reach out to your medical professional for guidance. 

My plan is now to revisit the camper with wildflowers in hand. (Lupines would be nice.) I will place the flowers all around that silver exterior in an attempt to honor the happiness, laughter and sense of adventure that once thrived there. I will say a prayer of thanks for my many blessings, past, present and future. 

Please remember to be safe and to be kind to yourself and to others. 

Belinda Ouellette lives in Caribou with her Goldendoodle, Barney. You may email her at

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