Sunday, August 05, 2007

I’m due another love letter to Mother Nature.

I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve dropped you a line and told you how much I appreciated this whole summer thing. It’s been going rather swimmingly (if you don’t include all the fires we’ve been getting of late). Fact, if there weren’t such a crazy age difference, I might allow actions to speak larger than words. I might even give you a big kiss instead of a heart-to-heart, but such is our relationship. Words ought to do fine.

I’d have to thank you for the past few days that I was able to spend just outside of Ketchum, Idaho, along with 69 of my friends (yeah, that was the count Saturday morning). The 10% chance of rain bit was a bit of a cruel joke, what, with the pouring flashflood-like rains when we arrived on Thursday afternoon. It all stopped eventually. Ponchos dried off and spirits lifted when we hit some natural hot springs about an hour away in Stanley. We had to follow the flow of the heat there, lifting out our feet when they risked getting burned and seeking after the warm stuff before the cold shifted back in, but, you know what? It worked. That was the way to spend an evening in the woods. If that family with the flashing cameras hadn’t shown up, I might have opted to do it naked, but nope. Didn’t. A special thanks for stopping that crazy deer before it plowed into the side of my friend’s Subaru, the same one I was using to flying down the curviest road I’ve ever been on in the middle of a wilderness night. That was close. I saw the eyes of wild things all the way back to camp. It was surreal. While others nodded off, I was wired and watching while listening to the familiar strains of Mr. Steve Miller. Methinks I even spied Bigfoot crouching near some tall grasses, no foolin’.

The sun came out on Friday, which meant hiking up by Redfish Lake was a success (even if it was just a short jaunt up Fish Hook Trail). We got to hitchhike on a shuttle speedboat and embrace the wind a while, too, marveling at the Sawtooth mountains and wishing for more time so’s we could try out some rented mountain bikes. Instead, we made it with five minutes to spare when we met the rest of our sunscreen lathering crew for whitewater rafting. Sure, the rapids weren’t much to speak of this time of year, but that’s alright, too. Things livened up when we found a rock perfect for cannonballing the other rafts as they approached. It hurt when I hit, but they say the splash was perfectly uncompromised, just like I’d wanted. And when Holly and Jess and myself acted as pirates and leapt onto Tara’s kayak, taking it over? That was a beautiful moment. I misjudged how shallow it was and hit rock bottom (both literally and swiftly), but it didn’t hurt all that bad. I still have a bruised heel and a gimpy limp right now, sure, but I’m sure it’ll heal with some time. When I did a 007 jump from my raft to a kayak later on, effectively tipping Michael over, that was pretty awesome, too. It makes up for the fact you made the waters heavy … and kept my shorts in the river as I attempted to jump back in our raft. It’s no big deal. I wear my Crack King title with all kinds of embarrassed pride.

Nobody was roughing it all that much … and we had the air mattresses and movies projected onto a white sheet to prove it … but that’s okay, right? We were there to commune with one another, surely, but there were times of meditation, too, at least from my standpoint. I don’t own a flashlight, so going from where the masses gathered to where my tent was was a bit of a blind trek, but I had the moon to guide me sometimes and the stars to do the job at others. Holes poked into the sky, they were. Hundreds upon hundreds of them, from where I could see. I saw a star fall and I got dizzy while listening to the river behind me. I could have lived one hundred more nights from that point on, my neck craning upward, save the nights stayed that way. As for what I got? That was better than all movies they played.

There were four kinds of Dutch Oven cobbler to choose from, but the apple cobbler was my salvation. It is the one food I could eat until I was filled, puke up, then continue eating again. As it stands, I got two small portions … and it was good enough.

Also got to play around with my bishop’s kids, who I’ve grown up around for the past four years or so. We played with a Frisbee, knocking it out of trees and trying to get it to go straight. I felt like some kind of a brother as we threw stones in the river, I honestly did. I think I accidentally caught a glimpse into dad-hood and it wasn’t all that bad. Then again, they were perfect kids. Oh, and Tyson ascertained that I was 11 inches tall before the trip was through. I never knew that about myself. Luckily, he did.

I got to learn more about friends, those I’ve known for years but not well enough. We were able to laugh more than we previously had, let down our guards and show off our smiles like crazy. When it was cold, blankets were shared. When a sack lunch was forgotten back at the main site, a torn half of a turkey and cheese was given. Bonding in a Tacoma on a five-hour drive was never expected, either, but that’s something I’ll remember past tonight, too.

It’s getting late and, after a couple of nights with a tree’s roots at my back, my bed beckons to me like you can’t believe. And, yet, I needed to share this, all of this. I really ought to tell you about the Mammoth Cave and subsequent impromptu journey we took on the drive up (along with the spooky dusty taxidermy room we dubbed the Hall of Death), the one we thought might end in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre –type ending, but it’s enough to know we survived. When I hear the crickets singing outside my window tonight, the very ones overpowering the cars and sirens in the far distance, I recall the cool nights you gave me just hours ago and gratitude nearly overrides my need for sleep.

I’ll leave you with this. I think it’s cool how you allowed the storms to return literally as we were driving home after our adventure. You know, Mother Nature? That’s some timing. You’re some kind of amazing, that’s what you are. Thanks for letting us borrow the sun. It made up for that campfire ban. We’ll just have to do s’mores another time.

Cheers, Dainon

P.S. Thanks for making my cell phone not work the entire time I was up there, too. Bloody brilliant.

P.S.S. It was nice to see your handiwork up in Sundance tonight, too, when a couple of us were up there to eat our fill at the Foundry Grill and look at more rivers and mountains. Good friends and good sights and good food? They all belong together.


bestsariah said...

Last night I dreamed we were on a walk together, because you were my boyfriend. I turned to you and said, "You talk way too much."

And it just seems kind of funny that after I dreamed that, you posted many, many words on your blog. Not that there were too many, of course. I'm just saying.

Dainon said...

It's been said I'm a man of letters before. And sometimes I feel pressed to prove it.

Bawdy said...

HOw's your foot dainon???

Dainon said...

Still nice and bruised. I've developed a permanent hobble/limp, however. It's fantastic. When I walk, I look and feel like I'm dancing.

Bawdy said...

Not that i would want your foot to stay bruised until this sunday or anything, but I think it might be kind of entertaining to watch that walk/dance you're talking about...let's hope it's not permanent though...