Monday, August 02, 2010

Pork, peanuts, plunges, and pique, Part II

I got this response regarding my recent post, Pork, peanuts, plunges, and pique, in email from P-Doug mid-week. He's consented to let me post it as a follow-up and the other side of the story. :)

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As for my return trip to Otterwa, you got the details right.  You were right to stay with the car.  I was totally ticked off at my own lack of focus in forgetting the keys that accompanying me would have been an exercise in Buddha-level tranquility.  I was almost grinding my teeth in frustration at myself but, since I was the one to screw up, it was only up to me to make the return trek and learn the life lesson involved.  The real problem was that the sun was setting just as we discovered what I had (not) done.  The other problem was that, by the time I got back to the curve in the road, I realized that I had no insect repellent on me (it was also in the fanny pack) so this was going to be a trip without long pauses.  I cinched the straps on my sandals tight and headed off.

Once into the woods, my eyes adjusted to the gloom but it was pretty obvious that this trip was going to have to be done within the next 30 minutes or I was going to be in some trouble.  Slogging up the hill at full bore was no fun (barefoot, you’d never be able to keep up with me) but the decent on the other side was a matter of running downhill like some fat Heidi heading for a mud bath of warm chocolate while missing the patches of thistle.

The situation really hit me when I got down to the ridge of pine trees between the field and the river.  It was so dark that I could see the trees but not the layout of the ground.  It took a moment before I gave up trying to find the route down and just went for the falling-from-tree-to-tree method.  That got me down to the riverbank swamp where I double-checked each foot fall so as to not suddenly sink up to my hips again.  By the time I was slip-sliding my way across the river rocks to the far side, I was swearing in entire paragraphs (Jonny Rotten is right, anger is an energy).  Finally found the fanny pack which was a black thing fallen into black bushes, double-checked I still had my keys and turned around to face the 400 foot climb of the return trip.  I knew at that point, staring at the now-dark woods, that I had to do this in one shot.

The fields were not too bad.  There was plenty of glow in the sky to see the foliage and lay of the land.  It was just that, with the bugs gathering, I didn’t have time to be too fussy in my path.  If I ran into thistle, too bad.  Just deal with it.  The woods were different.  It took a while before your eyes adjusted to the gloom but the delay allowed me to half-catch my breath.  By the time I got to the top of the hill again. I was making wheezing noises like Jackie Gleason in a marathon and looked like I’d just skydived through a canopy of trees.  Needless to say, as I walked up the yellow line of Humber Station Road, I almost had spirals for eyes from the adrenalin.

When I didn’t see you at the car, I was rather puzzled.  I know that you would not have wandered off but your absence made me instantly uneasy.  If you WERE gone, what could be the reason?  I can’t say I was thinking utterly rationally but I was looking around with almost feral intensity.  When you suddenly rose out of the grass, I almost leapt backwards into the road.

As for flinging $3 out the window, I fully claim my Scottish heritage. It was a matter of priorities.  I needed to get home and swallow a handful of antihistamines before the adrenalin wore off.  When I sat down, my leaping back out again wasn’t an act.  The welts on me literally felt like I was sitting on barbwire.  I couldn’t tell with the lack of light but I figured I might be heading for a major immune reaction (thankfully, that wasn’t the case). Besides, no offence for your hunger, which was a real thing, but I figured it would be about 10:15pm before I got back to East York.  And, yeah, you’d still be there if you’d got out of the car.  8^)

Back home, after grabbing a shower, I certainly caught G's eye.  My left side didn’t have a nick on it but my right side, especially my leg, was a map of scars.  I don’t remember it but I must have had a butt-kicking session with a patch of thistle because my one side was a patchwork of lacerations.  But not a single mosquito bite.  Nothing, not a single itch.  Strange.

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