Frost on the tent in the moons glow is not something I’ll soon forget and the walk to, water the lilies, at two thirty in the morning is an experience that truly makes you appreciate indoor plumbing. I move, shiver, look up and shiver.
You can’t begin to describe the sky, star chips as silver as my breath floats, held in a cool airy suspension. If I wasn’t shivering so badly I could have stood there until morning. But a moon that’s moved across the sky about as fast as I’m moving now, a moon that last night came up about as orange and pumpkin big is now almost translucent white sends me packing. I’d stare longer but it’s just too cold. My thermometer reads a double set of twos. My toes in frigid hard boots didn’t think it was that warm.
I finish what I didn’t want to start. Getting back in my sleeping bag, the warmth I left, is long gone, so I didn’t bother taking my clothes off. I ditch’t my boots and zipper the bag up to my snout.
My next unconscious thought was dreaming of the scent of coffee, when I woke up I heard the fire and guys cracking and the smell of roasted beans was real. I moved and my back was a cold slab of meat.
The guys outside the tent heard me rustling around trying to get my boots on and when I stepped clear of the tent fly I had a mug in my hand and the warmth, smell and taste was heaven on semi frozen earth. They thought it was nice that I lived through the night, glad I slept most of the day away, me being such an old man and all. They let me sleep in until 7:15; I just thanked them for the coffee.
Sunlight was pouring through the tree tops and a patchy blue sky with the long ghosted gray clouds matched my exhaled breath. Our four canoes look like they’d been frosted or iced by a professional baker. My nose felt the same way.
I shivered the entire time I peeled the breakfast potatoes. Somewhere after the fourth or fifth piece of bacon I had some heat back in my being. The brothers said it was cold last night, I offered it was pretty chilly earlier this morning. They laughed.
I said don’t laugh so hard boys, some of you guys if your lucky will grow into living with old man’s disease. If you do, You’ll fall asleep to early, you wake up to early, your joints are fine one minute, and then the next there hot rods of pain, and if that aint bad enough, you have to go, when you don’t want to cuz somewhere along the line life takes control, of what you thought you had under control. Another guy my age shook my hand and said amen brother I’ll drink to that. So we did, right there after breakfast we had some Irish antifreeze and boy did that take the edge off my arthritis. The trout whisperer