|scherenschnitte paper cut deer ACEO|
I have to admit I am not really a fan of camping. I like the things one associates with camping, like roasting marshmallows and hotdogs, telling ghost stories and campfires, Kumbaya…yup those are fun. Sleeping in a musty tent on the freezing hard ground cocooned in something inappropriately called a “sleeping” bag not so much. Don’t get me wrong I like the outdoors. I guess I'm outdoorsy only during banker hours-- from 9 to 5.
When my daughter was little she joined Girls Scouts. One thing led to another and when the leader had to relocate I was the next in line. Yeah you guessed it, Crystal became the Girl Scout leader extroidinaire and Girl Scouts camp don’t they?
When May rolled around the girls informed me they wanted to go camping. I froze. An encampment was coming up at a backwoods, rural camp in the middle of nowhere and they wanted to go. I’m nothing if not agreeable so I, albeit reluctantly, agreed. Before I knew it, my assistant leader and I, along with two other mothers arrived at the camp.
This particular camp was equipped with fancy naturally composted latrines…in other words “outhouses.” The tents were set up on wooden platforms with four cots inside each. We spread our sleeping bags atop the smelly cots, and went out to enjoy the day. Night must fall, however, and soon we were getting our evening things in order.
By now it was pitch dark and we could hear the girls giggling in the tents beside us. Then all was quiet, for a while. A scream broke the silence and one of the girls was at our tent describing a spider “the size of my hand” that had taken up residence on the walls of their tent. The assistant leader volunteered to take care of the situation. Me, I wasn’t going anywhere.
After a bit, things simmered down and it was really quiet. I never knew there could be so much quiet. I took a final sip of juice out of my paper cup and placed it under my bed. The four of us talked for a while and although, I would have been content to talk ALL night, the others wanted to get some sleep. Who could sleep? It was too quiet and too dark to sleep.
An hour passed and I lay in the dark, thinking and listening, and definitely wide-awake. I heard the steady breathing of others and I knew they were asleep. I heard a rustle, and then another. I wondered if bear was native to the area. Something was in this tent and it was not human. I realized it sounded small and was probably a mouse so I started to relax...just a bit. I silently prayed for morning.
What if I had to go to the bathroom before daylight? The latrine was at least 100 yards up a hill in pitch dark. Just as that thought passed through my mind, my body decided it was a pretty good idea. Guess I shouldn’t have had that juice before bed.
My mind was working overtime trying to figure out a solution. I thought about the cup beneath my bed. I know it may sound odd but it made perfect sense at that time. If only I could reach it. I was afraid to put my feet down and no way was I going to reach under there, even if the cup wouldn’t solve my problem it became a quest. Besides it kept me busy.
I reached in the bottom of my sleeping bag where I had stowed my flashlight. I know it would seem logical to just shine the beam under my bed and get my cup, however, I decided that I did not want to flash the light anywhere near the floor and risk seeing two shining eyes of any species. Secondly, I wasn’t flashing it on the walls seeing as spiders of huge size frequent that area. The only place left was the ceiling, which is what I did.
I pointed my light straight up and as I did this one of the other mothers called my name. I almost fell off the bed. She asked if I had to use the bathroom and as she did the others woke up and also needed to use the facilities. Grabbing a flashlight we started our trek up the dark hill to the bathroom. For a fleeting moment we wondered if any of the girls need to go and decided that it was every man for himself.
We walked together as one entity. If an alien life form had observed us at that moment they would have thought the native being was an eight-footed clump of hair and flesh.
The way back was a bit easier and soon it was morning and we were on our way home, with a new appreciation for modern amenities. That night I thanked god for my bed, my stove, my toilet, my shower, my bug killer………………