Saturday, February 14, 2009

September 23: Tough night

Too many people and too much mud. Explosions on the river: invisible bullets flew over through the trees. I couldn't tell where they were coming from, could not see any people bearing firearms. I alternated between trying to stay as visible as possible and hoping the banks would provide some cover.

The sun was declining, I could not find any campsites and some amplified doorbell ding-donged over the river. What song was it playing? What was setting it off? Why was it so ear-splitting?

The bend in the river past the doorbell offered a tiny inbank of mud-covered gravel. I had to bend over the weeds that grew there to provide any footprint for my tent. The site was unnatural; there was a dirt road across the river and only a neglected area of bushes and trees stood between me and the doorbell of doom.

It began to rain that night, hard. The wind picked up and so did the lightning, which came down all around me. Unlike the Saskatchewan summer storms that banged around mostly in the cloudtops, some of these strikes were close. After one flash I could not even count to one before the thunder shook the doorbell's memory from my mind. I remembered the conservation officer from Virden who had been struck by lightning; his first thought on waking was that he had died and gone to hell.

There were no trees over my tent; the brush was too thick to approach them and it was too late to move anyway. The only thing was to lie in bed.

My sleep was broken by half-awake nightmares where, still laying in the tent, I seemed to grow forked limbs and slowly grow into robotic material while a voice asked, "This is what you want, isn't it?" Deeper sleep came and went. It was still filled with nightmares fed by rain and electricity.

Fed up with the pain I woke again and again, forcing myself through the layers of the unconscious until I had woken up so often I was actually awake. I bundled up against the cold night and drank some clean water, but did not sleep again.

In the morning it was still raining and I did not have the energy to do anything but read in my tent until the storm finally broke.

Day 94 ended: 49*52.043N, 097*29.337W

1 comment:

John said...

This post reminds me of two things:

1) A sci-fi short story by Kurt Vonnegut in which all people are constrained to equal abilities. The most common way to restrain concentration was to have loud and distracting sounds generated at random intervals.

2) The particular flavor of nightmare reminds me of Next Nature, , which actually seems to celebrate such things.