The Night of the Hunter / 18.11.12

At 4 a.m. I grew restless in my sleeping bag. Maybe it was my air mattress deflating to the point of my regular nightly re-inflation. Maybe it was the hot chocolate, wine, and water that attended dinner, finally finding their way through my system. More than likely it was a combination of both, and maybe some unknown night bird’s call at the critical moment that brought me out of the warm fog of sleep into awareness of the night.

20121118-223225.jpg We were camped on the far side of the mountains from Florence, having descended some 20 km from the changing autumn forests of the National Park to the varied agricultural landscape of the plains. After a couple tries, we found a site off the small road that wound down a set of dirt tire tracks, opened, and stopped at a stream. Yes, the stream… the running water… the constant flow that keeps us moving, and got me moving–out of my warm sleeping bag. As often happens,when I stir Kallie stirs, and vice versa. This is one of my marriage learnings and equations: 2 X the restlessness = 1/2 the sleep. Oh well–small price to pay for cuddling etc. So Kallie got up too, and was hesitating at the door. “What time is it?” she asked. “I don’t know, why?” “I’m afraid of hunters.” A few nights before we had woken up to the a-bit-too-close POP! POP! of shotguns–duck hunters on the river next to which we had camped. As a hunter, I was not overly concerned about getting shot in the blackness; you have to wait until first light so you can see what you’re shooting. But then again, this was a foreign country. “No hunters will be out now,” I told her, “Don’t worry–it’s 4 a.m.” Kallie and I went and returned, and she was just snuggling up to me to drift back into sleep when the bullet hit our tent. PWAP! Kallie jumped, I jumped, and we both jumped. Hearts racing, wide awake, we gathered our wits and realized the “bullet” was an acorn, hurdled from the oak tree under which we had pitched our tent. Suddenly everything struck me as funny. A few moments earlier when we were out to pee, there had been a hunter watching us–the mighty hunter, Orion, his three star belt glittering as clear as day. And now a bullet from above strikes our tent, as if to say, “Don’t worry, but do stay attentive.”


« Previous Post: Chapter Two: A Lesson in Limping & the Importance of Flexibility

Next Post: PILGRIM NOTES: The Image of a Shepherd »

Leave a Comment...