Last week I showed you my tent in it's original site, at the top of the hill with a fantastic view of the lake. Here's where it is now - nestled in a hollow down at the bottom of the hill. No view, but less wind.
Much as it pains me to admit to even thinking I might be too old for something, I’ve twice had a fleeting vision of renting a nice, cozy, dry place on shore next year instead of spending 6 weeks in a tent on my island. The first time was while I was wrestling an upside down tent in a 40-knot wind, in the dark and cursing steadily throughout.
I’d gone to bed, in my tent as usual, and was reading a book when the wind suddenly picked up. Rain was on the way and my tent doesn’t leak so I settled back and continued to read. As the wind grew harder, one lightweight, very flexible tent pole suddenly bent INWARD, bringing the entire side of the tent with it. I shoved it back into place with my foot and lay there on my back bracing the tent with both feet, now praying fervently that the wind would drop. Unfortunately my prayers were not answered and the next thing I see is the fly slipping off. I jump up and get out of the tent to capture the fly before it sails off to destroy itself on the surrounding trees.
It should have occurred to me that as soon as my weight was not holding down the mattress and thus, the tent, something worse might happen. All the tent stakes had been yanked out of the ground, both those around the base of the tent and the ones further out securing the fly. Securing! Hah! I should have had tent stakes the size they use to hold circus tents up. My entire tent flipped upside down with all my gear inside, including the dog’s crate, but thankfully not the dog who had opted to stay in the camp for the night. He’d have been in a panic so that was something to be thankful for, anyway.
So here I am, trying to find my way back into the tent to retrieve my flashlight to augment the pale light of the moon. The moon was nearly full, but for some reason didn’t seem to shed a whole lot of light on the mess. I eventually found the door, which happened to be on the opposite side from where it should have been and managed to locate not only the flashlight, but also my glasses which, by some exceedingly good chance, had not been crushed by any of the tumbling gear. With the threat of rain on the way, I knew I had to get all the rest of it collected and back to the camp, so I grabbed as much as I could carry and headed over to bring back the wagon. Three trips later and all that was left was the dark, unrecognizable outline of my deflated summer bedroom.
Locating black tent poles in the dark and figuring out where the other end might be is not as easy as one might think when going by feel alone. I now have a whole new appreciation for what blind folks live with every day. But they, at least, don’t have to dismantle a tumbled tent with a 40-knot gale still blowing down the lake with unabated relish. It didn’t rain, Thank God, but I was exhausted by the time all was safely stowed and I fell onto an exceedingly uncomfortable cot for the remainder of the night. It was 2:00 am and that’s the first time it occurred to me that it might be nice to have a cottage with a comfy bed and running water and warm showers to summer in.
Just a few days later, I was returning to the island from a trip to my son’s. All the way up, it threatened rain, but none fell. So, Murphy being such a great friend and all, as I arrived at the beach to launch our little boat, the rain began. I had grabbed big trash bags just in case, so I dropped my suitcase, tote and all the stuff I’d hauled up with me for our family week into bags, got the boat turned over and loaded. The rain got heavier as I drove back up the hill to park and still more persistent as Duff took his sweet time hunting for just the right place to relieve himself as we walked back down the hill. By the time we were in the boat and headed to the island it was downright pouring. We arrived cold, soaked and shivering to an unheated camp. That was the second time I considered the value of having a cozy little cottage on the shore.
I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that I just might be too old for this shit!