(Haven't had much internet access on the road, but today I'm going to start posting the updates I wrote last week. And I forgot the cord to connect my camera to the computer, so no pictures either....)
Good morning, world!
Last night my little family enjoyed our most laughter-filled, connected evening thus far. It was our second night at Milford Lake and our first night kindling a personal, rather than communal fire. The solitude does us good. We spent the late afternoon hunting for fire wood. The trees are so small, scattered and spindly here that there are no tree-shadow clearings. To reach the base of a tree you have to wade through tall, wild grass. We didn’t. Instead we gathered up handfuls of last season’s woody stalks from some tall, yellow plant. Later we carefully gathered a few branches from trees with 3-inch thorns and from some downed pine boughs. A friend had warned that burning pine can make you sick, but we’ve never heard a confirmation of that story and the pickings were slim, so we braved it.
Around the time we returned, a storm wind rolled up over the lake. I laughed and told the kids that preparing for a storm in Kansas was a safer adventure than weathering a stone-giant’s brawl in the mountains of Middle Earth. The storm passed quickly, dropped the temperature, and left the sunset sky dappled with clouds.
Nix bundled our world in her blue-grey, star embroidered cloak. We kindled our fire. I told “Vasalisa” while the kids roasted hot dogs. We sang nonsense songs and harmonized OHMS. Chris and I jammed together on the guitar and drum. We listened to coyotes yowling their discordant tunes from the brush on the far side of the lake.
It was fucking perfect—now that my storytelling mind has filtered away the biting flies and diarrhea. But what else is a mind for if not to overshadow human frailty with the soul-sustaining memory of herons skimming over the water? This is certainly a journey of stories. I’ve not only told many, but explored new mediums for their telling. At Gaea a few nights ago I drummed accompaniment to a gal telling “Ricky Ticky Timbo” while Chris plucked out that cliché oriental tune on guitar. I’ve drummed many of these past nights and it feels good to finally enter musical space after creeping around the boundaries so long.
I think the whole family is growing. The kids are increasingly self-reliant at basic camp tasks. I’m about to go dig a latrine. Now if that isn’t character-building work, I don’t know what is!