Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day Three - "What I Wouldn't Give For A Cellphone"

I wake up groggy to a comforting sound. My wife and i like to lay in bed and listen to the rain, and it is raining hard. I turn my head. That ain't my wife. Steven B. is waking at the same time. We get up and light the Coleman stove and start cooking up 2 pounds of bacon. The others join us. It's 6:00 am. Hungover, tired, sore and most of all, wet, there will be no fishing today. All of us agree we have to finish that woodpile today, because we have nothing left inside of us. We are now running on willpower and stubbornness. Breakfast tastes great, although moss would probably taste great in our current state.

So we start. We are wet all the way through from three days of steady rain, and today is the hardest rain yet. We haul wood all day long. We overload our shoulders most of the time because we are finishing today, come hell or high water. Finally, we are making the last trip to the wood. It is close to dusk and Steven, Stephen, Derrick and I are heading for the last of it. There is one piece of pine siding left for each of us. We each grab one and we carry it in a parade of sorts. A real life parade of fools. We walk proudly to the campsite, and dump off our last pieces onto the new woodpile, and then open a celebratory beer. There will be no more walking today, no more tripping in that path, now more sloshing rubber boot noises. We are done.

Steven F. then looks at me. "Did you tell your wife you would call her?" The colour drains from my face. Quietly, i say yes. "I told mine too" he says. Without speaking, we both get up and prepare to walk yet again. Through the path, tripping more than ever because it is dark. We get out to the 1985 Chevy Diesel and start it. In minutes it is warmed up and the heat is on and feels better than anything i have felt in three days. Steven is driving and he is running an Indy race on a logging road. We are getting sucked into ruts, plowing through soupholes. I have a lit smoke hanging out the window and brown muddy puddle water splashes up and drenches it. About half way out, we see lights. Lots of lights. We pull to the side and agree it must be a logging rig, but it is really moving. As it gets closer, we see it is a Ford F-350, almost brand new, with lights all over the cab, and it is hauling a trailer behind it. That trailer is bouncing and rocking back and forth as the truck blows by us without even slowing down. He coats the front window of the Chevy so thick with mud, we had to get out and wipe it off before the wipers could do the rest.

When we get to town and we have to drive to three pay phones before we find on that works. We make our calls. I wanted to be home right then. I would never have admitted it, but i wanted it bad. We drove back quicker than we drove out. We trip through the path but as we do, the rain stops. The winds die down. The heat of the truck has made me realize how cold the air really is. When we got to the camp, the woodpile is done, neat and tidy. The fire is blazing, and on our new camp floor sits a bottle of rum, a Coleman lantern, a bottle of Pepsi, and six glasses. A celebration of sorts. The six of us sit down and pour drinks. The air is now vividly calm. We all start our drinks, and then it begins to snow. That's right, it is snowing on the 5th of May. Our defense mechanism kicks in and we all start to laugh. It is either that or cry. A few drinks and we are all off to bed. Wet beds that offer little comfort, but when you are as exhausted as we were, it doesn't really matter. Beyond any other feelings we may have had, two brought us some comfort. One, we had a finished floor for our camp, and two, we are going home tomorrow. Thank God.

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