Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Bone to Be Wild
He slides downhill in the dead of night. Gravity pulls him inexorably toward the dry creek bed next to his tent. By the hour of the wolf, his face is plastered against the wall of the tent, and he is off his sleeping pad, outside his sleeping bag, and has to pee. This, friends, is camping. He stirs to the darkness of no moon, the call of a whip-poor-will. He is sure there is a bear outside the tent, waiting for him to unzip the door, struggle to his feet, and stumble a few feet to take a cold, midnight leak. He knows he should not have eaten that second (or was it third?) burrito, or taken that fourth (as was it fifth?) shot of mescal (or was it tequila?). He looks up at the stars and thinks about the meeting he will miss today. The department head, the director, the founder, and his replacement will all be there. He should be too, but instead he is here, under the stars, trying to sleep on a slope. It will be hours before morning, hours spent listening for footsteps in the night, dry leaves beneath the pads of big paws, the coming dark night of mortality, or maybe just indigestion. His head is unusually clear here in the cold of the high desert of New Mexico. He is acutely aware that his time here is finite, limited, that the best days -- the ones of illusion and power -- have passed. He is tired, sore, and mortal, and he asks for nothing more than one more night, one more punch-line delivered around a mesquite fire. He knows he messed up his life, has floundered and flopped as well as he could, but never really caught or fed the fires of his heart's desires. As he stoops down to enter his tilted tent he wonders if he will ever post up on level ground, or find the peace that welcomes the coming dark beast from the silent woods.