Friday, May 09, 2008

It's in the little things

The weathermen are frantic. On every channel it’s the same. Middle aged and balding, they flick back and forth between satellite images like moths banging against lightbulbs. We can’t even have the pleasure of a good storm anymore. They ruin everything. I am fortunate that the rabbit ears on the television don’t function well in a storm and I am thus provided with a good excuse for being ignorant. Should I blow away and end up dazed and naked in a field somewhere in Georgia, it won’t be my fault.

I remember the second summer I lived at Camp Greystone. We, being the lowest-ranking staff members, shared a cabin that usually had running water and electricity, but often behaved like the 90-year-old man it was when the worst summer storms rolled over Grandfather Mountain and into camp. Fortunately, when the storm was bad enough to shut down the well pump, it was most often raining and we could stand on the porch under the drain-spout deluge and brush our teeth and wash our hair and get some water for the teapot. The rainwater was undoubtedly as clean as the water coming up from the well. It wasn’t unusual to have to run the tap for a few moments to flush out the peaty leavings in the pipe before filling the kettle or the tub. The water smelled like Lake Summit, that is to say, ancient and earthy like water probably would smell if we didn’t chlorinate and fluoridate it to kill wee beasties and cavity creeps. We lived like this in 12-week stretches for $125 a week.

We need so very little to be happy.

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