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Camping – 100% Chance of Rain

December 19, 2011


“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.” ~Dave Barry

In October, a girlfriend and I decided to break from the normal shopping, lunch, and movie outings to go camping. The distant rumbling of a storm began with our deviation from the mall sale racks to Sports Academy for fire starters. It poured rain that day.

Perfect planning–from meals, (homemade chili), gear, her trunk filled with $30.00 worth of firewood, to emergency rolls of toilet paper. Thinking of everything, we staged our two-day supplies in her dining room the day before, leaving wiggle room around her table.

After our successful tent-raising, we unloaded our cooler, dry goods tote, and lanterns onto the picnic table. Salivating over the evening’s dinner of chili & s’mores, the first drops of rain started to fall in defiance to the clear weather forecast.

During a steady gentle rain, we started a fire. Wet drops ran down the hood of my raincoat while I licked oozing melted marshmallow and chocolate from the rim of my squished graham crackers. Looking at my girlfriend, I started laughing at the chocolate dripping from her lips. The humor of the situation took hold of me as I said to her, “We have redefined desperation…two middle-aged women in the soaking rain for a chocolate fix.”

Marauding racoons pried the lid off of our dry goods tote twice, swiping our treasured cinnamon coffee cake among other white flour treasures…gluten-holics, not healthy. My friend had a leaking air mattress, nocturnal bathroom breaks, soggy paper towels, & a resistant fire start on the dry second night were a few of the minor and humorous challenges of our outdoor adventure.

Stiff Person went with me along with diabetes as always. My hiking pole helped me navigate gnarled tree roots along the ground, perception and obstacle triggers. Marauding symptoms stayed hidden, leaving the lid on my well-being tote fastened, contents undisturbed. I changed my insulin pump plumbing to fresh air and sunlight, disinfecting with antibacterial gel.

It was a great time–nature, food, quiet, friendship, and we burned the entire trunk of firewood. Though prepared, we did not need our emergency toilet paper.

“In spite of”…Life is still about moments like this.

“Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Copyright © 2011

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Nature’s Castle

October 8, 2011


“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~John Muir

A rainy Saturday. A free afternoon. My girlfriend and I decide to go shopping and have lunch. Lunch involved a carb and fat laden order of fried onion rings, loaded cheeseburger, and a DQ Flurry. Shopping involved…sporting goods.

Big Lots yielded a budget pleasing candy assortment for a church Halloween project and a stash for each of us. Assorted scented candles, discounted DVDs, and decorative housewares held our browsing attention for awhile. Finally asking an employee we were told, “No camping supplies.”

Across the road was a sportsman’s store. Passing the athletic wear and hunting gear, we located camping supplies in the back corner. Once again, cha-ching paydirt–tents on sale. I bought one, a four-person occupancy. (Room for me and my autoimmune trio.)

We decided to set the tent up to see how difficult it would be. My front room wasn’t quite large enough, but it was bigger than hers. In the process of our Amish-style tent raising, we thought the tent was missing a piece. Back out into the rain and the sportsman store we went. Enamored with my tent, my friend decided to buy one for herself.

Just when I think my SPS is going to behave, as I am clinging to the purse on her shoulder for balance, walking in the rain, and holding my tent box; it starts to slide out of my arm, triggering my back to do the familiar lock, quiver, almost fall down. In panic mode, I call out; she stops, takes my tent, and we somehow manage to awkwardly lumber back to the car, safe but soaked again.

She does a quick inventory of the contents of her tent before she heads home. I decide to try to put mine together. (Menacing background music.) After two sugar hypos, some awkward SPS moves trying to anchor a 4-man tent on carpet in limited space, I have a “loose” idea what my nature castle will look like, admiring the shiny fabric.

Excited, I can envision the healing silence of nature, taste the crispy melted marshmallows, hear the pop of a crackling fire, and picture a plugged in coffee maker for morning java. Camping within my comfort limits of SPS, I anticipate winter exploration in a warmer climate with friends.

To be continued…

Copyright © 2011