We camp because we work. Some of us camp as part of work. That was part of the grand idea behind TAXA. That, I thought, would be clever.
It has not completely worked that way. That is what I was thinking this morning, reluctant to get out of bed. I also fealt guilty for not blogging.
Somehow I was reminded of odd places I have ‘camped’. Strong and good memories. Not necessarily fun at the time. Sometimes really fun. Good memories are funny that way.
There was the night during a spring break drive during college where we pulled into New Orleans about 1 AM. Three of us in a big old station wagon. Marc, Chris(tine), Garrett. Why pay for a night in a hotel? It was late. We planned to wake up early and have the famous beignets of Cafe du Monde. We did wake up early …. a policeman rapping on the glass of the window telling us to get up and get out. Likely he was just making sure we were alive. Once we were alive and non-threatening he was just hustling us along. He scared the &%$#! out of me. I think we ate the very very first beignets that morning. I remember the rapping on the glass better than the beignets.
There was the night, a special night when I lived in Rome, that we received permission to sleep overnight in the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the best buildings in the world. It has a big hole in the roof, an oculus. It is beautiful during the day. It is beautiful when it is raining. It is incredibly beautiful when it is snowing – the flakes drifting down into a building continuously used for almost 2000 years. It was beautiful to be allowed to enter at dusk, about 15 of us, with blankets and cameras and sketch books and open minds and eyes. The light moved slowly, anciently, from lioght to dark to stars to light again. I have beautiful pictures I took. I have vague memories of lying uncomfortabl;y on a marble floor for hours. I remember opening a cafe and how good my cappucino was.
There was the night, actually many nights, spent in train compartments on overnight trains, mostly in Europe. Usually six seats in a compartment, at night the berths open to make six bunks to sleep on. Six people, well five others, who may not share a language, who may be picking at a whole roasted chicken – smells good at first but ten hours later with bones stuffed into a small small trash can not so good – , who smell culturally different. Remembering stories told about bad folks gassing train compartments and stealing money and passports and camera. Uneasily falling asleep wondering what it feaslt like to be gassed, wondering if threading my arms and legs through my backpack would make it any harder to be mugged. The bad stories never came to pass. The chicken was very memorable – its broken bones sticking out of a waste bin a foot or so away. I should mention thast I LOVE spending the night on the train. I crossed the country as a child that way. I spent a honeymoon night that way.
There was a night on a Cricket roadtrip – driving back 16 hours from somewhere west. I was exhausted. It was near midnight and I resolved to sleep at the next motel or campground that came into view. Luck found me a campground. I think it was eastern New Mexico. It was right next to the highway. It was about 15 degrees. Okay I thought. The noise of the highway is my waterfall. That freight train going past one side of the campground can’t possibly last more than 40 minutes or so. Any how – freight trains, crossing America, hobo romance, Kerouac – an how long can they be? I set up camp quickly, had my little furnace on and was totally warm. The fighter jets started crossing just then, not so very high above. Louder than my waterfall. A landing strip nearby I guess, a military base. Certainly not a war. I slept well, I mean after all the jets had landed.