tirsdag den 17. november 2015

Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy part 6... Storm

Yes, I know. I left us there in the dark and in the rain and we have no idea what is going to happen, apart from the fact, that you know, that I survived to write this. Which will also be the fact later on in part 7, where we are in real danger. This is just uncomfortable.

I got caught up in life and didn't have time for my blog. A part of our family is moving to the States, and that moved us, and my son found a place to stay in Copenhagen after having searched for two months, and his moving out was quite a change too after four years here in our relatively small apartment. He is 20 and it felt right. Although my motherheart fears that he will get lonely and what about eating healthily and will he be happy? All the thoughts and worries, that are part of the reality when you love someone. And that you have to bear, because you can not save other people from the pain of growing up and you shouldn't. And he will grow.

And all manners of other things happened, that I don't want to bore you with now, but most of all what has been drawing me away from the Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy is the refugee situation in Europe. It is on everybody's mind, isn't it? We all think about it. And in a way I relate it to both that stormy night in the tent and a book by a guy called Viktor Frankl: "Man's Search for Meaning", which is his account of his experiences in a concentrationcamp.

The world has just gotten very much smaller. Events that normally happen "out there" in a part of the world, that seemingly doesn't really touch us or concern us, suddenly moved to front row. Literally to our doorstep. We are being affected by this and for good reason. In one way or the other, what was happening out there in the world that we didn't see close up and therefore couldn't really relate to, got very real. Real people. Real stories. Real suffering. Real deaths. It's easy to imagine, that the people that are suffering "out there" somehow don't suffer in the same way as we suffer. We can't imagine what it's like, when people "out there" are cold, hungry, scared, when they loose the ones they love. Suddenly seeing the images in the news or shared on Facebook, we understand that the people suffering are real people. And they are right here in Europe. They are people like us. It touches us. All of us. For some of us, what is evoked is compassion. For some it is fear. But no matter how we are touched, this situation changes us. We can't close our eyes anymore. I will write more about this in a later blogpost.

But let me first get us out of that tent and on with the hike, because by the minute things are just getting worse:

Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy part VI:

I can't sleep. I catch myself praying to the weather Gods or anyone who has any power over the weather. I am tense and apprehensive.
If you have never spent the night in a tent in a storm, you won't know what I mean, but Nature get's so close, creeps under your skin, in a tent and it's intense. Alive. And can be quite frightening. I realized several times during that night how small we are in the Universe. So insignificant. That is a very useful and beneficial insight. But in the situation, that night in the storm, it was actually just plain frightening. We really felt at the mercy of Mother Nature's immense power.
At one point it starts dripping down on my face, and I start getting obsessed with keeping an eye on the tent to make sure that it's not raining in anywhere. I make my way out of the sleeping bag and into the frontpart of the tent where all our gear is and sure enough, rain is dripping and sipping in. I cover our boots and the gasstove with the big plastic bags we use to keep our sleepingbags in in the backpacks when we hike and cover our backpacks with their raincovers. Then I crawl back in, determined to sleep. It's 11 pm. Johannes snores with comforting regularity, I twist and turn and with the regularity of Jo's snoring, I wipe down the inner tent to keep it dry. My sleeping bag is getting
damp, the mattress is wet, there is small puddle building in a corner of the tent. I am cursing the fact that we didn't treat it with water repellant before we left. It's an old tent so even though it's a good quality ten, it's not really performing optimally.
Normally the rain would just drench the outer tent and the inner tent would still be dry, but the gusts of wind are so hard that the outer tent beats down violently on the inner tent and delivers it's burden of water.
Hence the puddle, the wet mattress, the damp sleepingbag and hence I am unable to sleep.
At 1 am Johannes wakes up. We are both freezing and we turn on the lamp to warm try to warm ourselves up (much like the little matchgirl of H.C. Andersen's fairytale) and share a bar. We giggle a little talking about our situation and having no control over it, and as long as we are both awake it feels lighter and not so bad. Then Johannes goes back to sleep again and I continue my involuntary nightwatch. Drying off. Moving stuff out of harms way. My mattress keeps sliding into the puddle when I turn in the sleeping bag and then I try to move it away again. Out of the sleeping bag, back in. Sitting up, drying both sides of the innertent, back down again. 20 times during the night. Sleep won't come.
Finally morning comes and I'm not sure whether I have slept at all.
The storm tugs relentlessly at the tent and sometimes we feel like it's going to lift off. We eat porridge and drink coffee and debate our next step. We could stay here and wait or take a chance, pack up the tent and hope that we can get out of the worst of the wind by crossing the pass into the valley. It feels like we're in a windtunnel. But that means packing up in a storm, which in my mind
before we left home was the most challenging thing we could be exposed to. But now it seems uplifting to think of action. And in the end, after waiting for several hours, we decide to go for it.
We have practiced this. Packing everything inside the tent, which is an art, when there is that little space to do it in. We take turns in packing our stuff, while the other one waits in the inner tent. Finally we're ready to go outside and pack down the outer tent. And again we have a strategy and everything goes smoothly. We stuff the tent down in it's bag. Tighten the raincovers around the backpacks and we're ready to go. I roar at the storm. YES!!!!! As we climb to the top of the hillside, the wind intensifies to the point where it's hard to keep balance. We stumble with each gust of wind and stand still to push against it's powerful force. It's enormously physical and powerful and as we cross over the pass and start descending into the valley, we roar and yell, and our voices get swallowed up by the wind. Mother Nature is so incredibly, wonderfully badass, and we are feeling her full force now. The wind and rain beat on our backs and I get soaked in a matter of half an hour, my rainjacket not really up to this kind of weather.

But the energy is wonderful. We are on our way again.

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