February 22, 2007

Under that sky

Put together the poles. Lay the thing out flat on the ground. Slip the poles through their respective sleeves, then into the grommets on either side. It stands shakily erect. Stake out the two tags at the back; then the two at the front. As invariably seems to happen, one of the stakes at the back has been uprooted: stick it back in.

Fling the flysheet over it all. Use lengths of rope to stake out its four corners, then two more at the side.

Takes me a good twenty minutes, and my knees are damp and muddy from kneeling on the grass -- and when I'm done, I have my little two-man tent up for the first time in years. I fling my foam mat inside, unpack the sleeping bag, and just like that, I'm ready for the night. Ready for the solitude -- far as I can tell, I'm the only camper in this huge campground -- for the darkness, for the night sky. For the adrenaline rush I always feel when I crawl in.

Fills me with joy. Fills me with memories of nights spent in that tent in all kinds of places. Tonight, I'm in beautiful Land Between the Lakes, on the Tennessee/Kentucky border. What memories will I have, tomorrow?

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