At 1am, I woke up to the feeling of the wind and the loud rush of the rain overhead and the furnace going, all making the same could-be-a-tornado sound and I could not sleep. The radar showed the storm cells coming up from Arkansas did not miss us, rather we went through 2 yellow and were in the middle of one squashed jelly bean red/orange cell, which did not pass quickly as the radar predicted on the 1 bar park WiFi we are somehow able to get from the camp store on the other side of the creek. Eventually, my wife told me to go to sleep, so at 2am, I laid down and slept until after 8 and so here we are, alive and well, and for the most part packed up except the fridge. Everything is dry and tucked away, even us. The snow skirted us by a few counties, but it’s over there to the west and a few snow showers are predicted at 10am. It’s mostly icy over there and I predict not loving the ride back home if that’s what we are facing. Slowing down when towing something is very important, but in the high wind on Thursday, I bailed before we got off highway 67, which was just off the interstate. The wheels seemed to lift off the ground.
Spring camping is great, though, if the storms don’t kill you! Fresh red buds blooming everywhere with a pitch of purple. Trees sprouting their leaves, flowers poking up from rocks. An elm sits over the way with its hanging pods, which will later let its green powder rip on every single thing.
It’s snowing a tiny bit now and I can hear the camp host coming by on their golf cart, pulling and replacing cards for today’s inbound guests.
Yesterday, before the weather blew in, we went for a hike on the trail blazed in blue, three miles up and over the mountain, past 2 or 3 waterfalls and down into a valley to get an up-close view of the gorge, which, at one point was higher than the walking path – strange to see the river higher than the trail. The moss was facing the eastern edges of the boulders and in some places it looked like the boulders fell out of a basket and down the hillside, scattered and broken. A part of the river was the fen the visitor’s center described. A wetland full of plants where animals and other wildlife lived. The shut-in river was home to it all. Beautiful blue-green pools so deep, so rocky, so still and then chutes and slides and deep bubbling holes, all of it capped by the trail high above and down into the valley crossing over with the Ozark Trail’s signature white and green blazed on crisscrossing trees.
My fingers are cold as I write this, and I have pushed my wife’s patience a little bit overnight because I have a hard time relaxing when I’m scared and weather gives me the freak outs. I see a few flurries blowing sideways through the window lit by the little lamp on the table glowing orange, the word Home outlined around our state on a sticker on the window with silver, red and blue star lights strung above. This is my happy place, weather or not. I love being here and I have loved some downtime from parenting and responsibility to get away this last week, to drive to Bristol, TN for NASCAR, down to Lynchburg through an epic storm and foggy mountains to the Jack Daniel Distillery and then through the countryside to Nashville where we stopped because rush hour traffic was so bad and stayed all night listening to bands play up and down music row. At The Stages, I had the singer belt out a Reba song (she picked Why Haven’t I Heard From You) for my wife's birthday which she sang smiling next to me word for word and it was great. We headed home after that and got there after 2am and then hit the road a few days later and came here, rode bikes on the path to Elephant Rock and then a great hike the next day. Ate leftovers from home, whatever was in the fridge, no big deal, just a good old time.
Hate to go back to work but we have to work for a while longer and if you can’t change something, you just have to stand it – that’s what Annie Proulx had Ennis del Mar say in Brokeback Mountain and it’s true.