Dulcet Tones

Michaele AlexanderThe Open Range

The dulcet tones of camping are all around me. I have awoken to the untamed wilds of a new RV configuration, and, stumbling about in the dark with my teensy light so as not to awaken anyone but the overjoyed cat ready for company, I realize in my determined attempt to make my morning tea that none of the ingredients are laid out. Including the range hood ventilation fan. Unkind words were said. Inside my head of course, and not aimed at anyone in particular.

Not favoring microwave technology other than as a potential Faraday cage we gave the big fancy one that came with our new-to-us used coach back to the dealer. As this is our second time purchasing from them they have become accustomed to our “modifications”, embraced the change, and gave us a $200 credit to go on a spending spree. We had every intention to purchase and install an obviously missing vent hood post haste. Really we did. But in the rush to get ready to go out for a scheduled trip with friends, well, er, it seems we forgot.

As Alexander Pope once penned “to err is human; to forgive, divine” and having already started the flame on the stove, lest I make an even louder noise such as the gas alarm going off, I had to put my misgivings behind me and do something quick. And sensible. Praying to the Powers of Kindness That Be for quiet windows and shades I begin to open to the morning world. Dawn had already struck the mountain tops, lazily working its fingers through the trees. I soon realized that I wasn’t the only thing stirring in the brisk air.

It is truly amazing how noise filled life can be at the break of day when one desperately desires to be silent. How utterly clamoring with opportunity to squeak, rattle or bang. Things one take for granted in the business of the regular day or evening hours like twisting a flashlight on (SCREECH) that needs a bit of lubricant, not being entirely level (having settled a bit overnight) and letting go the bathroom door (BANG). The catches that keep the drawers closed when traveling suddenly giving way to the pressure of opening (CLUNK) when one is trying to get at one’s sani-tea. Or the kitty’s door in the window (SQUEE-WHOOSH, BUNG, BUNG, BUNG) as he exits.

Our daughter, now at the front of the coach in the partially constructed bed suite (no surround as of yet), slept blissfully through it all. Including the accidental dropping of utensils in the sink. She slept, that is, until I attempted the windows on the west side of the coach for the desperately needed ventilation. This let in a piercing, repetitive squeak. PEEK, PEEK, PEEK, PEEK, PEEK, PEEK, PEEK, PEEK… PEEK!!!

The cat, now bored with the fact that I had not settled in to write yet (no lap) and delighted with our new surroundings had gone out to mingle with the locals. Which to him meant the possibility of breakfast. Or sport. Or a sporting breakfast. Something different on the menu than the organic people grade yummies in his bowl. Dining out.

The tree squirrel who had been bombing our campsite (“Aaaagh! Noooo! Not the new coach!) with heavily moisture laden pine cones weighing about a pound or more from the tree canopy a good seventy or eighty feet above us yesterday afternoon as we set up was not comfortable with the arrangement. Not comfortable at all and thought everyone should know about it. In her inimitable wisdom our daughter roused saying, “It is a squirrel alarm?” to which I could only reply “Either that or an alarmed squirrel.”

My ability to cope with such things was at a low ebb. I had only just taken a single sip of my badly needed tea. Daughter rolled over after a disgruntled sigh, the squirrel prattled on for another endless minute or so and thankfully ceased barraging the morning quietude with its commentary on malcontent after the cat, having enough of it too, came in to see if I was ready to settle down yet. Which I am. Except, now it’s almost time to make breakfast…