It’s 51 degrees outside tonight.  I’m sitting inside, out of the wind, with the thermostat at 68 or 70.  I can’t see the stars because the blinds are drawn.  I can’t hear the wind through the trees because of the traffic through the intersection.  I very much miss being on the deck at WindWalkerCamp under a thermal blanket and four of Kathryn’s quilts.

My heart is walking under the trees, under the half-moon over WindWalkerCamp in Missouri’s Ozark foothills.  There is freedom under the vastness of the night sky.  There is wonder in the hunting call of the barred owl.  Mystery rides the wind through the oak and blackjack and hickory silver-dusted by the waxing crescent moon.  Gawd! but it’s beautiful out there.

The first tipi deck is in place.  Kathryn and I sat on that fresh new deck with our backs to the moon just so we could even see the stars.  And the moon was a day or so shy of half full; all but the brightest stars were simply washed away.  We watched the clouds change from a range of buffalo-humped hills on the northern horizon to an avalanche across half the night . . . to an Empire star destroyer in pursuit of Princess Leia.  After a while I got tired of being buffeted by the cold ion exhausts of its passage and walked back uphill to our covered sleeping deck to get ready to crater.

Ten minutes later the rain pittered; then it pattered.  Then it came down like a cow on a flat rock.  I took a blue tarp and tucked in under the mattress, over the thermal blankes and the four quilts.  We laughed and giggled as the wind yanked it out of hands like a Labrador puppy.  Finally it became too much hassle to try to sleep and keep a grip on the tarp.  We weren’t getting rained on anyway, so I folded it up, tucked it under the bed, and we went back to sleep.  Only our noses peeked out for fresh air.

Friday morning dawned blue-eyed and fresh-washed and hung out to dry on the line in Grandmother’s back yard.   “. . . like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay.”

By 9:30 we had made a $42.78 trip to the city dump with the several-year accumulation of trash we had loaded last night.  Back to camp, we finished sweeping out and packing the truck, dropped the futon and tipi cover in the warehouse in town, and headed back for the house.  The house in town.  Our spirit-house remains on a hillside in Missouri under a changing moon, sung over by the winds of the Osage, the Quapaw, the Choctaw.

I can see on the shining screen on the back side of my skull the tipis at the north end of the flying field, the woodshop tucked into the trees to their left.  And as you ford Gerald Creek (that’s the total reason I named the creek that), you come about fifty yards up the hill and take a right in front of the sawmill, come on up the hill, and pass the sentinel Blackjack tree into the opening of the field.  And there are the activity buildings and the Lodge and the flagpole . . .

It’s not all there yet, not in wood and shingle and tin and stone, but I can see it.  Sometimes I feel like Lamar Cranston . . . “Nobody can see it; but I see it.”  It’s way cooler than the Hotel Monolith.

Come to summer camp; see it happen.  Come to summer camp; make it happen.

Thank you for reading.  Let your spirit walk through the trees, under the moon, my friends.

Uncle Pat

What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.