Saturday, June 23, 2012

Camping in the Yard

If you have a porch or a few square feet of property please try the adventure of summertime sleeping outdoors. Steamy days become cool nights here, 10 to 15 degrees cooler than in the city, sometimes with a delicious trace of ice in the air, and among my chief summer delights is sleeping about three times a week in my old green and yellow two-person tent and a nylon bag and blankets. New this year: mats all across the tent floor for comfort no matter how I roll.

I pitch my tent where the grass is mown and short, which discourages ticks. About 10:30 p.m., settling in with my pillow I watch stars through the ceiling netting; or through the door netting watch the knee-deep tide of early-summer fireflies. Every year on the very first night out there's always an incident, such as a nighttime creature sniffing around the tent. This year my presence in the meadow annoyed a deer who snorted for 30 minutes in a threatening manner, edging closer with every snort. I downloaded onto my Droid the loud and unpleasant "Police Siren" app with flashing lights, and thus established my rights without a confrontation. I've discovered that sleeping on the chilly ground eases and breaks the cycle of tormenting night sweats and hot flashes. The photo is a view through the tent ceiling early one perfect June morning.

I often wake at sunrise to a world filled with humidity embodied as mist and dew, so much it soaks the tent walls; or I oversleep and the sun heats and heats the tent until I'm driven back to the house inspired maybe to make a dreamlike breakfast of berry scones and coffee. Early one morning, creeping out of the tent into an almost psychic orange mist, I saw a buck so majestic I understood why the classics say a god disguised himself as a stag.


Buford Nature said...

I am reminded of a time I was camping in the Ocala National Forest. Playing my harmonica after sundown in the darkened tent, suddenly a deer began alternately snorting and stamping only inches from the back of my head. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. I guess I was "out of tune."

Divinebunbun said...

Love your story. What happened next?

Buford Nature said...

The rhythmic snorting and stamping were about 3 seconds apart, as regular as a clock's tick-tock. This went on for what seemed like at least 5 minutes. I was frozen with, uh, indecision. I did not know at the time what was challenging me, but knew from the thudding that it was bigger than me.

The snort-stamping then ceased and was replaced by a slow walk-stamping, each footfall being about 3 seconds apart. He had vanquished me and was proudly marching off.

Come morning, there was a stomp-hole a few inches from my tent, about 6 inches in diameter and maybe that deep. His footprints leading away for maybe a dozen yards were way deeper than a deer's usually shallow prints.

He must have looked as majestic as I felt vulnerable. Dang I'm glad it wasn't a bear!

Buford Nature said...


I did respond several days ago, but my response is not shown. Did you not receive it? You can respond to my email address listed on my Google blog, On Rappel!


Divinebunbun said...

Buford, I hope I have fixed the problem. On my end the comment shows as posted. Thank you so much for telling the story!!