The Tent

June 2020

Last night I decided to sleep in my tent escape—a canvas shelter with room for two situated at the lake’s stony edge. In the past I have used it for company when the indoor beds are all claimed. During the day, I paint there for afternoon light. After self-quarantining for two weeks in the cabin it was inevitable that I would come down with a case of cabin fever, the only antidote for which is the outdoors. So, I skipped my evening Macallan and headed out. The half-moon lit the path through the wood down to the water. When I peeled back the tent door, I was relieved to see there was no evidence of prior guests– the wild, four-legged kind—just a couple of spiders to evict. The tent has a mattress and comforter and after giving them a good shake I fell into bed and the deepest sleep, awaking this morning to the high orange glow of the sun piercing every gap in the tent canvas, and to a sound I hadn’t heard in a while around here: the rumble of trucks. Early morning construction vehicles on the camp road? We are in a different time now. Beethoven couldn’t have composed a more joyful sound in that moment. Danforth was coming back to life.

I put on my fleece slippers and padded back up to the cabin to fire up the old black, crusted kettle, to prepare coffee for the first cup on the dock. I took in the distant sounds of diesel engines mingled with nature’s crazy harmonies. Even the birds’ chirping seemed more adamant and excited with the activity. Next what sounded like a noisy RV passed by, then another truck and another. Yes, they are back. The world is awakening from the pandemic slumber. The RV travelers are either homebound or coming to camp out. If they are inbound, Maine still has a two-week quarantine law in effect for out- of-staters– but there is no enforcement. I know they must be here, but I haven’t seen a police car in years. Campers and RVs coming and going mean summer is not locked out. The loons and mallards will welcome the travelers back and the bass somehow know they must escape into deeper water. The gates will open. The storage barns will empty of the ATVs that ramble the woods. The old canoes will go back in the water. Minor repairs will commence. Chopping wood for the fireplace. I will reassemble the trampoline for my grandkids. Fire up the old barbeque. Now it’s time for that second cup of coffee.

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