~ Parading Out The Devil ~
(One night in the woods)
He who is in his late thirties, stares out into the open vast waters of northern lake Michigan. Blue sky above him reminds him of past wilderness adventures, hiking, camping, enjoying the company of no-one else but his solitude. As the ferry boat rocks ever so gently with each wave, his stare becomes hypnotic in the anticipation of traveling to a different world then he's used to. From the cluttered exhausted saturated air of the motor city to the crisp clean everything of those islands in the middle of this lake. Traveling on a whim, spontaneous plans of going to meet and shake hands with his fears are all in the back of his mind. "You can plan for everything under the sun. But you'll never plan for that banana peel you'll slip on" he recalls from reading mystic literature. "I know I'll make it" saying to himself in a reassuring vibe. Carefully planning every spot, step and strategy to get to a small island by kayak for months now. "Just remember the banana peel!"
The blue sky...Oh the glory of the blue sky. You give away to your twin, handing off the stage of this world to the sad mask of stormy weather. Relaxing on the balcony of the white and green ferry, I could see my destination in the distance. A small dark band of land ontop of the razor thin border where the earth and air engulf one another in an eternal battle of night and day. This, I could see at this point was much darker. Rain clouds blanketing the island like there was no other place on earth for storms travel too. It was like a mythical story of the ages, telling how and where rain was born. The clouds centralized over my vacation spot "Damn it !" The gentle rocking of the ferry gave way to gale force winds, lightning and torrential rain beating on the windows of this old ferry boat. All of this only one mile away from port. "Well, that banana peel might have me this time", assuring myself as I convince my disappointment that this is only mere set back. "By the time I reach port, the storm should be done".
.....And it didn't when he reached port. The long line of other passengers waiting to get off the ferry was nerve-racking. Propping his head up above the line looking for any clue as to a glimpse of the outside weather. Shorter and sorter the line decreased as people caught cab rides and other forms of transportation to their lodging for the night, while I strapped on my hiking backpack and grabbed my kayak out in the down pour of rain. As lightning struck ground (out yards away) he says in a discouraged voice, "I'm nuts to be out here with no place to stay" The port quickly emptied. All there was left was the unmistakable sense within him of truly shipwrecked on an island, only this one had a bar in town. "Nice! I shall wait the storm out with a drink." After stowing his gear inside a shaggy bush to hide the fact that our storm soaked sailor from the south had skedaddled to the saloon.
"Can I get a Guinness please?", asking the bar maid while whipping off the rain from his glasses. "No Guinness only domestic beers here honey", she replied casually with an undertone annoyance in her voice. Putting on dry glasses, he saw his second favorite drink displayed on the back wall of the bar. "Ah..I'll take a Corona then". Spending the next hour slowly sipping his drink just to wast ample time to let the storm weaken. "Figure if the rain only eases up a little, I'll find a place to sleep tonight", thinking to him self while looking through the foggy window in the direction of Main st. in this one police man island town. The down pour of rain steadily diminished to a gentle spring time sprinkle on this day in mid June. "Today's my birthday", he murmured to himself in a depressed fashion. "And I'm stuck here on this island. Wet, cold and longing for sleep" "Welp ! Better get going, it's get'en late.
Gathering his gear under the thinning grey sky's presented him with an opportunity to seek shelter. Looking towards the inner most part of this island, it seems so dark and ominous in there. The blanket of woods and small houses spread throughout a winding road, gracefully turning up hill into the darkness of the late evening. "I'm going to have to stealth camp somewhere in the woods tonight", he says knowing that the closest camp ground is miles away. Up the hill and around the bend, hoping it doesn't rain again. The warn black top pavement sharply cuts off into dirt and ultimately narrows down to a small path way. Disparately looking for the perfect spot to set up camp, he spots a opening in the woods where the perfect spot to camp the night can be seen lite up in the opening of foliage high above. Stepping off the pathway to his right, he stealthily sneaks in between young saplings of maple, trying to avoid being seen by the owners of the land who's house can be seen a few hundred yards away. Meandering by full grown beech and ceder, the forest ground still covered in last years fall leafs, he quietly worked his way to that opening in the forest floor. These ancient woods, flat, over-grown and wet, presented to him as friendly but it's lack of sounds was making him nervous. No bird songs or dusk chorus, just silent - something our reluctant raider remembers isn't right.
After quickly setting up his trusty tarp into a make shift tent by using two tree branches and rope, he stuffs his homemade goose-down sleeping bag into a surplus bivy bag for extra protection against the elements. "Ahh..", he exclaimed in exhaustion while sitting on the wet cold ground. "I'd better get something in my stomach". Sifting through the big wood-land camouflaged backpack, a food bag appears with dehydrated meal goodness inside. Stealth camping is a little bit different from regular camping. For one thing; food preparation without a camp fire is a must if one is not to get discovered. But who says you can't use an alcohol stove. Boiling up water with his homemade pop can stove, he realizes it hasn't rained in a few hours now. The ever familiar song of the Robbin echos in the distance. Sounding like his home during late dusk, this gives him add reinforcement. Looking up into the trees, he sees what looks like a small patch of blue sky. Smiling, he brightfully thinks that the rain has past. The increasing darkness falling upon these woods as the sunlit grey skies make way for nighttime. Distant waves crash on sandy beaches not more than a mile away, like the signaling sounds of Robbins to which the changing of the guards are imminent, they introduce this island to a new.
Settling in for the night, he crawls into his warn out pee green colored mommy sleeping bag. To tired to read a book he hurry's to sleep. Ah..the time period during eye's closed and dream time is know in mysticism as the Mauve period. The transition between two worlds is a journey where half awake and half asleep beings realizes their bodies are only to help manifest conciseness for the spirit who's travel is between physical and spirit world. This period allows us and helps us gently transition without doing harm to our self's. Slowly, he descends into this Mauve state of being. The wind blowing through the fresh spring time leaf's up above him in oscillating patterns, noise of virgin white and pink grow as the gentle breeze collide into full grown white pine needles. Echoing throughout the forest, this warm sound slowly gets weaker to his ears and ultimately deafens completely. Quiet..shh...quietness and solitude is what the Mauve period has done to this tired tranced transcendent. Shhh........solitude.
Within an hour he's out dreaming what ever his heart desires. Then - from somewhere. A small rock? Hitting him on the head. Enough to awake him. Startled, he reacts slow. The analytical mind starts to gather information as what had happen. "Where did that come from?", yelling while he rubs the spot on his head where it hit. Not able to see a thing in the darkness, he quickly shuffles his hands across the ground beside the sleeping bag where his glasses are placed. In a panic he mummers to himself, "Where are those glasses of mine? I can't find the flashlight until I FIND MY GLASSES!". After a few tense moments he manages to find both. Scanning out side through the small opening of the "A frame" tarp shelter, still in his sleeping bag, he finds nothing but the usual trees and bushes you might expect. Peering his head around the shelter in the other direction, again he finds nothing. Retracting his body back inside the cramped shelter, he sighs in relief. "Maybe it was just something falling from the tree above?". Then again - from somewhere. A small rock? " Ouch" Hitting him in the exact same spot on his head, a small pearl white in color pebble. "Who's throwing those!?" yelling out loud while grabbing his homemade skinning knife out of it's sheath. He's silently still, unmovable with fear as he lay's vulnerable in a small shelter. Slowly, he unzips the sleeping bag, then bivy bag. Slivering quietly like a snake, he gets out of the shelter to investigate. Pointing the flash light in the direction of where he thought the pebble came from. He see's something that isn't woods. "Huh!"
Ten yards away, a patch of thick bushes with it's green rain soaked leafs shimmering in the flashlights beam and behind it a shallowly figure. Dark, oversized and unfamiliar. It's arms, legs and upper body was visible through openings in the vegetation but dark. An immense seven or eight foot tall shadow, even though light was shined upon it, no definition another then darkness was visible. This is the only way to describe the figure. Having a split second witnessing such creature, "I didn't realize at the time that I was looking at a seven foot tall humanoid. I thought it was just a deer", he recalls day's later when writing about his experience to a friend. Just as this creature presented it's self to him, it quickly without a sound dive-down into the thick foliage to hide. No sound at all. Leafs, branches, arms, and body were moving - but no sound at all.
To tired to think, our lazy laid-back layman of the land felt a shivering sensation up down his back. Fear, now turned into anger. Thinking to himself "If what ever is out there leaves me alone to sleep tonight, I 'll leave it alone". Visually with his eye's, he lay's an invisible boarder around his camping grounds for the night, exclaiming to the creature, "Now don't you cross this line and we will not have problems. GOT IT!" Satisfied with his demands and his anger wearing off, he returns to the shelter. Staring at the sleeping bag on the ground inside his shelter, he contemplates whether to stay awake outside or relax inside the nice warm mommy bag. Doesn't take long for him to decide on warmth. Also doesn't take long for his sleepiness to take control.
The Mauve period passes and once again our torpidity tent tenant is dreaming. Shh....solitude.
The once gentle breeze that lullabied him to sleep, (now an hour later) strengthens and whirs around as the mist of before thickens into rain. Faint sparks of light grow brighter in front of rumbles of thunder. A storm is brewing. Cloud too cloud lightning gaining speed and intensity, his grapple-hold onto deep sleep is being compromised. The pleasant nature of the gods from above are turning and their slumber is being compromised as well. Zeus has awakened and with one swift throw from his arm, a lightning bolt from above hurtles down to the physical world with the strength of a thousand horses. Striking the ground only yards away with a mighty explosion, the crack generated from thousands of volts is felt within every bone in his body. Cat like reflexes, fast and disdaining about sleep-headness, pushes him out of his bag with the speed of a frogs tong catching it prey. White face and scared, he stands outside in the pouring rain - again contemplating whether to stay or not. Another loud crash in the distance pushes his decision making back inside the shelter. "I made it this far not to run away", speaking to himself in a encouraging way. Taking a deep sigh and unzipping the sleeping bag, he craws back into what seemed like the only safe spot on the island....in his shelter.
For hours the storm unleashed it's violent terror of light pulsating inside the clouds high above him. Distant thunder vibrated the very ground he laid on, magnifying the experience of sleeping through a storm. With every lightning strike - I saw. With every thunder boom - I felt. It was like being in the front row of concert performed by Zeus and I was the only spectator in the arena. Poking his head out of the small opening of the shelter, he lay's there looking up towards the heavens. "I swear, I've seen the same storm cloud an hour ago" he mutters to himself while looking at storm clouds through the opening in the forest canopy."It's like it never moves" Persistent, the constant chaos of light and sound dance together in a story of the ages, this mingling of energy once still is now full on psychopathic in it's actions. The storm never lets up, stationary to an extent, never letting go. This is what it did for five and a half hours throughout the night. Only until the sun peaked out from the other side of the earth, did the storm dissipate into a mist. A gentle late spring morning mist?
Hearing the dawn chorus chanting throughout the forest. The early morning doves announce the beginning of a new day. The ever present "pitter patter" of rain drops falling from leaf's high above, crashing onto other leaf's down below. This morning quietness is still and welcoming to a sleepless victim of last nights storm. The gray clouds, thin with a blueish tint, floating just feet from the very tops of the tallest trees, casually wonders pass by. Rubbing his eye's, he puts on his glasses to see the surrounding forest and compare it from what he remembers from late night in the bushes. "Looks the same", he exclaimed. "Maybe I was just seeing things?" "Oh well, I think it's time to leave before another storm hits".
Quickly packing up his stuff in the morning light, he leaves for the port where another ferry is waiting to go back to the main land. With the second half of his round trip pass, he presents it to the ship hand. With defeat on his face for wanting a perfect vacation, he shrugs his shoulders and say's "Wow. What a night". Overhearing some locals on-board the ferry, they mentioned how devastating last night's storm was - Tree's down, power outages and flooding. As the ferry departs port, he stares at his backpack leaning on the seat across from him. Realizing that he has not eaten all morning and left a half eaten fruit bar in his packet. Reaching for it, he pulls out instead a pebble. A small pearl white pebble. Looking at the pebble he thinks.......and then say's to himself, "I'll be back next year"
01: Tree House.................................10:42min
02: Tree Energy Line........................8:22 min
03: Leaf Entanglement....................11:34 min
04: Auditory Fiber Transfer..............8:19 min
05: Parading Out The Devil.............8:13 min