Saturday, October 24, 2009

The planting papers: A bear of a dream

I am a combination of cheap and lazy sometimes. Instead of investing a large chunk of money on a high quality tent (which I felt was gonna get wrecked in the chaos of tree planting anyway), I was more apt to buy 2 or 3 cheap Canadian Tire specials each and every year. Oh and a tarp, who needs a tarp? The faster I set up my tent, the faster I could get on to better things, like flirting with the ladies and hanging with the powers that be. Damned hormones and ambition, they are no damned good for anything.

It was a dark and stormy night. I remember the camp well, it was basically a gravel pit. A small chunk of hard lumpy ground surrounded on all sides by dense Boreal forest. Stark, uncomfortable, not the worst camp ever, but close. The rain was coming down in sheets. I stayed in the mess tent by the airtight stove for as long as I could keep my eyes open. Eventually I gave up, out I went to battle the dark and the elements in search for my tent. Once found, I zipped myself into the 60 dollar paper thin, soon to be flyless, tiny little thing. I listened to the rain pound.

I was probably very, very stoned. I recall that there was a mud smudge on the side of my tent that looked like an old Indian chief. I used to stare at the chief in reverence and ask him questions mostly regarding the future. Simple, sophomoric shit like; do I have a chance with so and so? Am I gonna make any money tomorrow? Should I move to Calgary at the end of the summer? He was my one only companion on many a long night.

After praying a bit to the chief, I fell fast asleep. The rain and the wind picked up. If I hadn't been sleeping in the tent, it would have blown clear across camp and into the forest.

I soon began dreaming. I dreamed I was being chased around camp by a huge bear. I was hurtling tents, splashing in huge puddles, slipping and falling in mud. I'd get up, look behind me the bear still hot on my tail, I'd jump, splash, ouf, brrr! I remember felling cold, wet, desperate, the bear might as well win, I was miserable. I sprang awake, shivering. The fly to my tent had been blown off in the wind. The torrential rain was pouring right through the mesh roof of the tent, I was probably lying in a foot and a half of ice cold water.

Nearly hypothermic, everything I owned drenched, I made my way to mess tent. Lucky for me there was still enough hot embers at the bottom of the airtight stove to easily restart a warm fire. I wrapped myself up in a large blue tarp the was lying on the ground. I tried my best to balance and fall asleep on the wooden bench beside the airtight. Cold, wet, miserable. I don't believe I dreamed anymore that night. I did however have the mess tent awfully warm and cozy for my fellow tree planters when morning finally did come.

As for the chief, I am not sure what I did to piss him off. I didn't get the girl, nor did I make much money that day. Never trust the smudge on the wall of a 60 dollar tent. Ever.

1 comment:

  1. Ya gets what ya pays for Joe. As my old Irish grandfather always the best boots and the best bed cos if your not in one in your in the other...great tale though...funny how in hindsight it reads like a good that was a long night though...