No it really was this time!
It's a dark and stormy night story!
So the night was going so well.
Lost, Sassy and I had hiked up to Medicine Mountain for the Tuesday night Outpost again with the scouts. Lost was technically leading, but he's trying to pass it on to the junior staff so we hung back, the three of us, and did our own thing, only making ourselves available if they needed anything.
We set up our shelters down the hill a ways from the junior staff and young scouts, Sassy and I rigging up a lean-to tarp with Lost's hammock and rain flap.
And it was a great shelter, a lean-to like a cozy cave which kept us protected yet not entirely enclosed.
Once we were nestled, Sassy read aloud from her book - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - and the rain began, accompanying with its gentle pattering against the tarp. It was cool enough to really snuggle down inside the sleeping bag, and there was the gentle breeze lilting in through the opening of our little cave, smelling of rain on pine, feeling more of fall than summer.
Sassy read and the crisp breeze wafted and the rain chattered comfortably. The grey sky darkened as night softly and unobtrusively took its turn at the helm. Our companionship seemed a tangible entity.
And all was right with the world.
"Shh, you guys," I finally said. "Look, this is a perfect moment."
And it was.
Darkness settled in and we finished the chapter and bid one another goodnight. Lulled by the sound and scent of the rain, we fell promptly asleep.
We all slept soundly.
For about 30 minutes.
Until the junior staff from up the hill showed up with their flashlights and calls of "Lost? Lost? LOST???" Finally I threw something at Ryan, camp name Lost, (a shoe? A stick? A rock? I'm not sure). "WHAT???"
And then we maybe slept a total of one hour for the rest of the night.
Wet, shivering, crying scouts who hadn't learned their Wilderness Survival lessons that day at camp and were improperly attired and sheltered were sent down the mountain where Buck (our boss), whom we'd radioed, picked them up and took them back to camp.
When that fiasco was through, we settled down to sleep again and were just dozing off when Ducky shows up with his flashlight a'glowin'.
Back and forth he came, keeping us updated on the crying, wet, shivering scouts he put inside his tent until finally he'd given up his sleeping bag as well and had no more room to spare in his tent and was asking to be allowed to hike back down to camp. Alone? In the dark and stormy night?
Lost said no.
We three felt like parents telling our kids to just GO BACK TO YOUR ROOM AND GO TO SLEEP, FOR GOSH DARN SAKE!
And then we shone our flashlight on Ducky and saw him blue and wet and shivering, having given up his shelter and sleeping bag to the scouts.
So in he came, into the cave, where there was now suddenly a shortage of shelter and sleeping bags.
The rain eventually let up (four hours later), but the wind picked up, harsh and cold, and every twenty minutes or so Ducky asked what time it was.
But amidst it all, there were such moments of laughter over the utter ridiculousness of how the night had turned out. We laughed and hooted and cursed and blamed one another and laughed some more.
The hilarity carried us through to a morning that dawned a bright and cold 40 degrees on the mountain.
It was definitely a memorable Outpost, fun despite it all, or because of it all.
That's the stuff memories are made of.
We packed up our shelter, and gathered up the remainder of the soggy, shivering scouts, teaching them Sassy's "hypothermia dance" to warm them, and headed down to camp.
And there was my meadow, gleaming in the freshly washed morning, dazzling and sweet.
Just another day in Neverwood.