27 Powers

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Girl Scout Blow Out

The women's camping trip in Tahoe I organized begins. Part mother hen, part girl scout, part father's daughter is how I feel. I have the ax (a lucky 50 points on the Scrabble Board), the lantern and the baseball bat, the army shovel and the air mattress, the campstove and the mega-tent. It's all prepared. Pitched the tent early with methodical precision. Carved a place in the dirt. Planted eight solid stakes to keep the thing on the ground, plus tied it to a tree for good measure. Everyone's here. Four remarkably dazzling women. Little star and I make dinner. Eat by 6:30 pm. Yum. Mixed green salad with pecans, cranberries, goat cheese and vinaigrette. I make marinated bbq'd halibut, and pasta with sauteed mushrooms and spices. Right after, I say I want to do dishes; Little star says wait til after dessert. Little bird builds the fire and we listen in bliss while she plays the banjo. Appalachian tunes in Tahoe, so sweet, so sweet. Relax. Relax. But now: hmmm...dishes in the dark(!) The wind is picking up. (Hemingway's "The Three Day Blow"...Knowed it.) Little star wears her headlamp and finally the dishes done. We put them away by lantern light. I kill the big log fire in a stupid way I'll regret later. Head off to brush my teeth and pee before diving into the tent. 10:30 dog-tired and I'm just about to reach for the tent zipper when ssshhhhSSSSSHHSHHHHHHSSSHHHSUUUUUWWWWWOOOOOOSHHHH! Extreme blast of wind out of nowhere snaps a tent pole, straightens the fastened coil, uproots the stakes and the tent breaches belly up with 30 lbs of gear. Would have blown clear across the campground if it hadn't been tied to the tree. (ps. listen to your intuitions, you'll be glad you did). I try to revive the tent and get tangled in the mess. I hear a strange sound... it's me calling for help. I hear myself yell "I need help with my TENT!" The words hover on the wind and there's a brief silence as if whoever heard it wasn't sure what they'd heard. Then a flurry of action: little bird and mega-wordsmith come to my rescue. At the cost of their own warmth and comfort, they come to my rescue. They make magic of the chaos. Open the tent. Retrieve the mattress, bedclothes, flashlight, clothing, water and book. Shove it all into the back of my truck. I'm still reeling from the catastrophe that I worked so hard to protect against. Power of the wind, power of these women... incredible, intense. I feel humbled and in awe of their generosity; their kindness. Climb into the warm bed made by little bird and count my fortunes in the friends surrounding me. Feel so unworthy. So unworthy. And grateful.


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