Crater Lake To Stanley, Day 3 : Curiosity

I’m back at Forth Klamath, in the field behind the organic food store that I’d scouted out days before. The store owners charge five bucks to camp back here, and the sites are in good shape, with clear numbering, flat spaces for tents, and a collection of stout picnic tables on a gentle hill overlooking a pleasant brook that slithers between the farmhouses and fenced fields, joining with smaller streams here and there. I suspect the river itself is being used as a property line.

I’ve set up my tent in a hollow beneath some leaning trees, framed by knee-high grass, and am sequestered inside, napping on my roll-out mattress. It is quiet except for the sounds of the wind. Down here on the ground, the wind is strong enough that I had to stake the tent down, using sticks pressed down into the thick soil. Up in the sky, the wind is gigantic.

For the rest of the afternoon I drift around on the edge of sleep, listening as the wind pounds the clouds across the sky, and churns the grass around in the field, making coils and spiral patterns. Swishhh… Boom, boom. Swishhh… It is a strange feeling, having a body tired from bicycling but a mind fully rested, being dragged down into sleep by fatigue. Even stranger is the knowledge that I have no plans at all, for an indeterminate time; no appointments to keep, errands to run, or household to maintain. Everything I would do is wrapped up in physical possessions that are hundreds of miles away. I’ve had at least one item on my to-do list for so long that to have the list completely blank feels somehow … inhuman.

I eventually get up and take a few photos of the field, playing with the camera to pass the time, then retreat back inside and listen to an old Terry Practhett novel. The wind hurls a few drops of rain down onto my tent, and continues to tear apart the clouds until night falls, leaving only the gigantic sound.

Boom… Booom… Whusshhhhhhh… Boom…

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