Saturday, March 15, 2014

On (cold) camping - a lamentation

Louise and I have had our camping gear packed and ready for more than two weeks now. It has just not been warm enough to risk an overnight hike in the mountains...until this Friday! Imagine our glee when our telephone weather information app said that it would be 78 degrees (that's Fahrenheit my dear non-American family, friends, and others) on Saturday. Sure it would drop into the 40's overnight, but we could live with that, right?

But it was Greenville's weather we were looking at...Louise swears she told me what the real temperature would be. It seems selective hearing can get one into trouble from time to time.

About the half way there, I realized I had forgotten to bring my meds with me. Ah me, but I should have enough Thyroid hormone in me to last the night and day, so no, push on. Perhaps I should have taken this as a sign. "Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways."

Getting to the campsite was no big deal. It wasn't too steep nor was it too far. Thanks to daylight savings time we managed to get the tent up, the "beds" rolled out, the fire going, and supper cooking. But when the sun dropped below the horizon, so did the temperature. Consequently, we were in bed by 8:30.

Funny thing, getting older. Back in the day, we would sleep out under the stars with nothing underneath us but God's green earth...or brown, as it usually is in Africa.

But now, the hip above begins to complain - quietly at first, but quickly rising to a yell and a demand; "Turn over on the other side!" So, I flip over - cold air rushes in - I get tied up in the sleeping bag liner - the slip for the pillow is stuck on my head - Louise groans. Now the right knee begins to complain about the left knee bearing down on him. "He's bony," I hear him say. Left knee shoots back, "Not as bony as you!" And then the other hip begins to chime in for good measure. And it is getting colder by the second.

2 AM, and I am still tossing and turning. Louise is fast asleep. She has never been this happy about her hot flashes. To make matters worse, the moon is shining brightly, so on the odd occasion I manage to summon up enough courage to stick my head out from under the covers, it looks like it is morning...but I hear the moon chuckle and I dive back down under the covers.

Finally, the 6 AM alarm! But it is still early and the sun is an hour late this morning - thanks a lot daylight savings! By now, my entire body is in rebellion. The knees and the hips are no longer complaining individually. Sometime during the night they decided to form a choir, together with the shoulders and neck and they are chanting an imprecatory Psalm in unison. And so, the weary body creaks and groans as it attempts to dislodge itself from the dangled liner. The lungs nearly stage a revolt as the shock of the 28 degree air threatens to shut them down in an instant. But there is the promise of warmth from firewood waiting to be burned that seems to ward off the calls for civil war...and coffee...God bless the Ethiopians!

And as we huddle around those gorgeous flames, the sun peeks out over the mountains and the weeping of the night before began to give way to the joy that came with the morning.

The glorious day turned out to well worth the discomfort of the night and, as they say, all's well that ends well.

 Postscript: I think we are going to be sore tomorrow...

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