A funny thing that happened, once, in a state park. Or, being relatively close to Sarah back in the day...

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Summary: In this post, I am going to meander briefly through a time in which I spent a night near Lake Guntersville, and how close this might have been to the woman I eventually married. Whether or not it really was close.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

(04:08:06 CDT)

A funny thing that happened, once, in a state park. Or, being relatively close to Sarah back in the day...

The thing about "The One" that is possibly most frustrating and yet intriguing, is that rarely do we know "The One" from birth or even early childhood. I would say less now than ever before. We meet "The One", our significant other, the old TO/SO, sometime later. Later than what depends on a number of factors. As said, this can be frustrating because our TO/SO has had a whole life without us. We come into their lives as strangers and we spend much of our remaining time together aware that we have been shorted those moments: ten years, twenty years, so forth. Of course, if you meet your soul mate, the love of your life, at age twenty-five and not sixteen, it is important to note that the reason they are someone you love now is intimately connected to the fact that you did not love them then. You, and they, are not the same people the two of you would have been had things been different. Your universe imposed exile from one another is quite possibly the most important part of you being together. Take it as a gift.

Sometimes, though, quite mind-boggling weirdnesses occur, and while they are not signs, unless you are the sort to believe in signs (in which case, take it as you will), they are terribly fun to think about. For instance, in the year 2000, on the way back up from Evergreen, my family and I stopped to camp. We were in the Northernmost tip of Guntersville State Park, some little nob of a camp ground with the sort of people who were willing to tent down next to a few others under the pines. It would have been the end of Spring Break. I had had some rough moments, that year, and had went home thanks to my friend Lance offering a lift. My parents were bringing me back up to Huntsville. As I have said in earlier posts, my mom did not like the straight paths, and had taken a quite circuitous journey to get me home. Most people could have finished the trip in four, maybe five, hours. We took so long we had to camp in the middle.

Here we are, in the state park, and it comes a storm. I was keraunophobic, then. I was terrified of thunderstorms. Perhaps it was best to say that I was almost more ancraophobic (afraid of wind). I am not sure. I am not either of those things, anymore, besides in passing brief moments. At the time, though, it would come up dark clouds and the wind and rain would pick up and I would be scared. This is the night, you see, that cured me. Flooding, in the psychological sense. The literal sense. The tent, the campground, the truck bed, and many other things all flooded quite nicely. It was a harsh storm. Digging back through The Huntsville Times archive, it was almost definitely the weekend of April 1, 2000. April Fool's Day. Awesome. People died during that storm. And there we were, in a little tent. To put this in perspective, imagine that you are scared from heights, and someone decides the best (or funniest, let's not forget the April's Fool factor...the universe made you think you were going to die! HA!) possible thing to do is tie you to a thin, thin rope and dangle you off a cliff. Good times, really.

Here is where the night gets weird. I get up, because there is no way I can sleep. It is too hot inside the stuffy confines and too loud and terrifying. I get up, take the book Jurassic Park with me, and hike to the nearest solid concrete rest-room place. And I hole up inside for the night. I have no idea how long I walked in the rain, could not recall that fact if I tried, but I did walk and I got that somewhat solid structure and I sat on the sink and read Jurassic Park. All of it. In one sitting. With the thunderstorm tearing tents down and spawning tornadoes. True story.

My memories of the next day are two-fold. First, in the early morning rain that was not as bad as the rain the night before, a woman fell off the top step of a good series of steps, and landed somewhere about the bottom step, and cried so loud and pathetically it sounded like she was laughing mirthlessly with a tinge of sarcasm. In fact, I laughed along for a few seconds before realizing she was howling with pain, not humor. The second memory was learning that the truck bed, which had contained many of my most important things including all of my poetry written up till that point and several of my favorite books on their trip to the UAH dorms, had flooded. Taking with it, at least a portion of, my poetry and my favorite books. I was blamed for this, by the way, because I did not take greater care to stop it from happening. It rained so hard that that water came up over the lip of the tent door, and it was my fault for not having super powers and preventing it. Apparently, the day after April Fool's Day is April Extreme Individual Responsibility Day.

Where am I going with this, besides describing one of the most miserable Sundays I can recall? Simply this. If you trace the spot, on the map, where my camp site lay, and go up and over just slighty to Preston Island (which really is just about dead North from the spot), where a then sixteen year old Sarah would have been in bed after, presumably, wrestling with wet and terrified dogs through the storm, assuming that she and her family had not fled the storm to a non-trailer living neighbor; you get a distance of about four or five miles. My half-mile hike through the sludge and the rain to find shelter nonwithstanding. Four or five miles, give or take a mile for directional adjustment to get on the proper bead, in something like a straight line, only about the distance from UAH to, say, Five Points, right up the lake and on the other side. That's how close we were, three years before we met.

Had a tornado killed me, then, then it probably would have at least bothered her roof a tad, too. And you don't get any closer to that.

That's enough treacle for the night. Good night, and deeply cynical Doug will return, tomorrow.

Si Vales, Valeo


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