A damp wind bears down from a threatening sky, and we are going camping. It's Darren's annual four-day birthday camp out. When I promised to go, this was not what I had in mind. We: my husband Andy, and our daughter Allie.
Andy and I met on Guam. We were always out hiking or snorkeling or caving. After we married, we traveled across the US--camping, visiting friends, looking for a magical small town to settle in. Settled in Oregon, we hiked every weekend, gathering sage and chamomile or picking Morrell mushrooms. Then we had a baby.
We camped out once when our daughter was 18 months old. She had nasty yellow diarrhea the whole time. Now she is four.
As we're packing the truck, it begins to hail.
We have to go. Forty-minute drive up steep, curvy roads. Darren and his five-year-old boy are waiting for us. We've got dinner: organic steaks in a garlic-rosemary marinade and chocolate cupcakes. Halfway up, big fat snowflakes land softly on the windshield.
When we get to Howard Prairie, the sky is gray but it's not snowing. We pitch our tent. We are tough. We can do this. As Darren puts another log on the fire, he tells us about his propane tent heater.
Allie sits on her little green chair by the fire, wrapped in a blanket, not moving. Her nose grows redder. Another snow flurry frosts her hair.
Mid-afternoon: it's warming up a little. The grown-ups shiver by the fire, but the kids are out in the sunshine by the lake. They jump from rock to rock. Sean-Michael cuts down four-foot tall Wooly Mullein stalks with his new pocketknife. Allie follows him, punching down the stalks he leaves behind.
Six o'clock: steady drizzle sets in. My toes hurt. I'm hungry. We look at each other, the fire, the cooler.
"Green-springs Inn has all-you-can-eat spaghetti tonight," Darren says. The mountaintop restaurant is just minutes away. The grown-ups smile.
We thaw out at the restaurant. Allie finds a friend, another three-year-old girl with her family.
Shawn M. Davis currently enjoys a busy life in Southern Oregon. Her serial careers include: deadhead, archaeologist, mermaid, herb seller, computer tech., creative writing instructor, medical receptionist. She edits Cenotaph Pocket Edition, which is on an indefinite hiatus.
Her haiku and haibun have appeared in Frogpond, bottle rockets and Wild Strawberries, as well as in various on-line journals. Her flash fiction and poetry have also been published in print and on-line venues.
Her first novel, Dancing Within the Song, is due to be released in fall 2004.
Copyright 2003/2004 Simply Haiku