Be Surprised

skunk do not hibernate black white srtipe[1]

I’ve camped quite a bit in my life and had some surprising things happen.

One night… well let me set the stage better.  I like camping out under a tarp.  You know, kind of out in the open, without walls, but a roof over your head.  It’s easier to carry, set up and take down.  It also let’s you experience the outdoors without the false feeling of being in a room.  You can also see what’s going on.  Have you ever slept out in a tent… remember what it’s like?… the sounds of being outdoors but not really knowing what’s going on outside… separated by just a thin layer of fabric… a false sense of security layered with the uneasiness of not being able to see what made that strange noise.  Knowing that when you turn the flashlights on inside…you are a colorful globe to all creatures that see the lit tent in the night.  The brush of a creature against the outside of the tent… was it a bear, a mouse… the hair standing up on the back of your neck while you tell yourself it was nothing.  The coyotes calling to each other with their eerie sounds… are they close?  It sounds like they’re right in camp… but you can’t see.

Well, that’s why I like a tarp…

Anyway, one night under a tarp, sleeping and dreaming about a great day in the woods… WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?…a rustle.  Am I dreaming?  In this half sleep state, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between reality and dreaming.  Can’t seem to open my eyes… wait, it sounds really close.  Silence… phew.  Another rustle, even closer.  Now some sniffling and it’s not me… hair standing up on the back of my neck!!!  Slowly… NOT REALLY…eyes open W-I-D-E!  It can’t be…close eyes… open again to reconfirm.  It is!  A skunk is looking at me eye to eye six inches away.  Don’t react… don’t move… Pepe La Pew s-l-o-w-l-y makes his way back into the woods and I don’t smell any worse for the interaction.  Welcome adrenaline and goodbye sleep.  So much for the peaceful, restful night in the woods…maybe I ought to rethink this tarp thing.

Sometimes it is simpler to not know what’s out there. Walls may be a good thing.
Do you sometimes find it simpler to not know? Why?