July 26th, 2010

attention please

swallow falls

back from camping
six days in the mountains
didn't want to leave, but it's nice not having to unzip myself from shelter walk a block and a half through unlit wilderness when i need to urinate at three in the morning
and also the whole not needing to unpack and repack the beetle every time i want a piece of cheese
and also the bugs
and also we had frustrating neighbors the last couple days
one batch wearing a lot of hot topic black and chains and spiked belting things with hair dyed various unnatural shades of red

ben said "i'm concerned about the pack of pseudo-goth punk college kids a couple sites down from us"
i said "i'm sure they're fine, but even if they aren't, they're a couple sites down"
and yeah, i was the one who got more pissed when:

they loudly sang off-key "you belong with me" by taylor swift over and over again by the campfire until quiet hours initiated
after which it just dissolved into hours and hours and hours
of shrieking and giggling and moderately triggering babbling in post-adolescent preteen vocal inflections audible deep into the woods

(if conversation in my vicinity even vaguely resembles that of the exploitative/vindictive/temporarily sociopathic 13 year old girls who'd corner me in middle school i become panicky, my fingers go numb, i'll kind of drop off into a self-protective catatonic state--and--yeah, that's exaggerating now, but it wasn't always. the cruelty of classmates in my middle school drove me into self-injury and suicide ideation; it also calls up trauma from that period of my life that wasn't happening in school, and i'll leave it at that.)

stressed into harsh judgment, i snapped
ben said, "i said pseudo-goth punks, hon."

the other neighbors were right next door to us.
they had this horrible 4000 watt LED lamp that lit up the forest like noontime
and shown right in our faces if we sat at our own campfire
they left food and their campfire unattended
(bears, bears, bears)
the man just talked and talked and talked and talked

but that was just the last two nights.
saturday night the pseudo-goth punks were way more subdued,
and my sense of humor was better.
the rest of the week previous, there was only one other camper for one night in our section of the campsite
he came late and left early, was several sites down and we barely heard a peep out of him.
it was like we had the forest to ourselves.
every morning overcast
every night the moon getting full
waterfalls in the distance
stars and stars and stars
we didn't fear rain those last couple days and so had the fly off for ventilation and the view.

voles crashed our campfire on friday.
quick shadows darting under chair legs and our legs in the firelight.
they grabbed empty wrappers from the lipped tray we had our smore fixings on.
voles rattling wrappers under the picnic table and then tossing them away.
they didn't get anything more than residue or crumbs from us, which is good, because i don't think anything in a smore is good for a vole.
(note: add a tall standing tray to our camping supply list)

i found the paper from my peanut butter cup under the car the next morning.

sneaky voles!

every night at eleven on the nights we were there to see it, a raccoon would wander by our site, probably looking for anything the voles didn't get.
ben would jump to his feet and make a shockingly authentic hiss chattering noise at it.
the raccoon would jerk back but still stand there for a second, confused
(perhaps thinking "dude, those creatures aren't supposed to protect their territory with that sound!")
and then retreat into the trees.
i think the second and third time he came back, he was almost doing it just to see if the man would still hiss and chatter at him.

we took a daytrip to blackwater falls
and it was overcast and rainy and the winding path through the trees.
we went to waterfalls and antique malls.
i got a partial tea service ("denby," many stoneware cups, more saucers, a sugar dish, a creamer, an uncommited lid, "they look like your parent's house" ben said)
the hot day we went kentuck knob and the flumes at ohiopyle.
we drove around west virginia with a GPS that has a firm grasp of the absurd
saw queen anne's lace and winding fences and mountains rearing up gradually in the distance
the really hot day we took a cavern tour
and then laid head to head on picnic tables outside the playground
not able to see the stars for that luminous moon.

pictures and more pictures to come.

i had a good vacation, thank you very much.

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