I survived my date with Mother Nature. Oh, that girl has some sense of humor. Here I was showing up all repentant with bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolate, apparently stepping blindly into her trap. Do you know the sound of Mother Nature laughing? It’s similar to the sound of rain falling at a rate of 1-1/2 inches in 45 minutes.
And do you know what that does to a little tent pitched in the woods? Again, more laughter.
And do you know what the sound of my reaction was? Tires spinning on the gravel, the clink of cash exchanging hands at the liquor barn, and the satisfying hiss of a bottle cap coming off a 12-ounce bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
And that, dear Internets, is how I made lemonade out of lemons.
Mother Nature has issued me an ultimatum: “Get yer ass outta the city this weekend or we are through!”
This came in the form of a shower of acorns pelting my skull as I stood in my yard the other night. I’m not an idiot. I can take a hint.
See, Mother Nature — or MN — and I have been drifting the last few summers. We’ve had a few uncomfortable dates that I thought made the appearance of love and devotion, but she saw right through my air kisses and empty gestures.
Staying in a cabin with a roof was cheating, she charged. A few hikes and an afternoon nap under the pines do not a relationship make, she warned.
MN looked the other way because we had a new baby and were insecure about laying her on the earth to sleep. But I knew, deep down, that MN was hurting. Why else would she have visited pestilence upon us in each of our last three trips away from home?
Once upon a time, MN and I were tight.
Backpacking the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness in Montana, 2000.
We spent so much time together; only the thin material of my tent separated us. I rode her rivers and streams, climbed her mountains and marveled her beauty from one end of this country to the other.
I thought our bond was solid when I went so far as to camp in January and withstood her bitter embrace.
But I drifted more than the snow that winter. Girl from the East came to us and kept us close to home.
I know this is my last chance. I am packing my tent and camp gear and going on a reconciliatory date. I’ll sleep on the forest floor, gather sticks to spark a cooking fire, walk barefoot on her soft skin and gaze up at her breathtaking night display. She really is a beauty.
This weekend, I offer endless devotion and penance.