Last Saturday night I was sleeping out under the stars, which sounds rather romantic or at least aspirational (Instagram photo caption: live ~ laugh ~ love ~ *stargaze*) but really it was a last-ditch effort to deal with being way the fuck too hot at night during a camping trip. Sure, let’s ditch the tent! Can’t sleep any worse than I have been!

As it turns out, it was in fact possible to sleep worse, in the sense that I slept not at all. However, if a person is going to have a night of unrelenting insomnia, being immersed in nature next to a river isn’t a half-bad place to be.

I mean, I did have to cycle several times through my own personal laundry list of outdoor-related anxieties before I could fully unclench. For instance, I was quite worried about bugs, particularly orifice-seeking spiders since we were directly on the ground. At dusk, there were a great number of bats swooping around and I kept imagining one borking its echolocation somehow and smashing directly into my face Fabio-style. The noise of the river was both pleasant and distracting: it was a continual white-noise rush and burble with inconsistent surges that I kept misidentifying as the sounds of something in the river rather than the river itself.

Also, we were stationed a few hundred yards from an actual bear fence protecting the coolers, so there was THAT.

As the night went on, I gradually stopped worrying about my surroundings conspiring to attack me and I was able to relax/surrender. The sky went from a collection of pinpricks to a riotous expanse of glitter and black, the kind of jaw-dropping starry night it’s impossible to see from town. I saw shooting stars leave blink-and-you-miss it tracers in dramatic zipping arches, I saw the bright busy movement of the ISS, I saw the Big Dipper slowly rotate until only the handle was left in view.

It was a staggeringly beautiful, endlessly long night. It felt like the kind of night where you’re supposed to come out the other end with some sort of grand epiphany, but mostly I was deeply grateful for two things: that I had experienced it, and that it was over.


8 Responses to “A supposedly fun thing I’ll probably do again”

  1. Megan on August 5th, 2021 9:49 am

    You’re a braver than I am. I wouldn’t be able to ignore the bugs. Or the thought of bugs. Or the imaginary feeling of bugs on me.

    I’ve been meaning to comment here to let you know our boys are XC teammates. Every time I see him I feel like a weird stalker, even though we don’t know each other at all, I’ve had this glimpse into his world for years. So maybe I’ll feel like less of one if I say hi here? Anyway, I’m George’s mom, maybe we’ll see each other at a meet.

    I’m glad you continue to blog occasionally, I feel like you express parts of my brain!

  2. Jules on August 5th, 2021 6:18 pm

    Never stop writing! You’ve a rare talent for engaging your audience.

  3. Shawna on August 5th, 2021 10:02 pm

    The bugs would make it a big nope for me. Do you not have mosquitoes where you are? They get absolutely ferocious outside my city at night, and aren’t anything I’d want to sleep exposed to even in my suburban backyard where we have a mere fraction of the rural numbers! My mom is in the country and has a big screened in porch because it’s the only way to sit outside without being plagued in the summer!

  4. Mary Clare on August 6th, 2021 6:17 am

    The sky sounds amazing! Love your words – ‘riotous expanse of glitter and black.’ Those experiences make for good stories even if they are not so pleasant in the moment.

  5. Linda on August 6th, 2021 10:37 am

    Shawna: I was absolutely covered in DEET. Mosquitos aren’t really a problem near the river in this area but I was PREPARED.

  6. タオバオ 送料いくら on August 7th, 2021 2:51 am

    タオバオ 送料いくら

    All & Sundry

  7. Pat Birnie on August 10th, 2021 5:57 am

    Once again your beautiful writing had me reread this just to savour the words. Not sure I could have done this- bugs, bears… but I know the sky when there is no ambient light is breathtaking. I bet you needed a nap the next day.

  8. blackownedlocal.Com on August 20th, 2021 10:27 am


    All & Sundry

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