With the sky darkening and clouds becoming too full for the sky to hold it’s gathering weight, rolling threats from thunder had us scuttling to find a nice open place to unfold our shelter. A whopping, worthy-looking tree tricked us with assumed assurances: “Yes, you see the split I have in me about four feet up from my base… but never mind that! By laying your tent beneath my bulky branches, you will be comfortable.” We all saw it’s scar, a deep cut, but another threat from thunder and a bolt of light whipping through the stormy sky had us take the offer of the old tree.
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Back in Lanesboro – July 20th and 21st – I recollect the memories I have from tenting here last time, three years ago, with my parents and brother. This year it is my dad and brother and sister with. As we finish putting the tent together this year, my eyes see 2009, a younger time, but it’s not completely clear to see, so I battle with the details – obscured by time and shock – in my memory.
Not able to give us anymore time, the sky began dripping it’s sweat upon us as we prodded the stakes into the ground. When we got in the tent with our belongings, the sky let go and the depths of the clouds poured for about ten minutes and then rained for half an hour. It was approximately four o’clock and the rain slacked to a mist for five more minutes.
Later, we did walk about the park and visit the gazebo where we mused aloud in a lazy excitement, but the day doesn’t matter as much as the nighttime.
I was sleeping well when, at about midnight, I heard my mom speaking.
“Oh my gosh. What is that noise?” We all listened. “It sounds like some kids are back in the woods playing with fireworks or something.”
I was too tired to really pay attention and fell back asleep. Suddenly, CRACK! A series of fireworks exploded, but it was not fireworks, it was the great tree. It fell upon my body in a smack. My brother was sitting upright and already screaming for help. “Help! Help! Help!” I could hear people all around our tent. Lights were flashing all around.
A deep voice called to us, “Is everyone alright in there?” Someone unzipped the tent. “I’m stuck.” I was frantically telling my brother. “I’m stuck.” Mom was saying “Katelynn’s stuck.” My brother helped pull my legs out and we all shuffled out of the tent to meet all the other campers standing around. Two minutes later cops were there. We stared in shock at our tent and the tree that collapsed upon it. My hands were shaking. People were everywhere. We were all in shock and the police were talking with my parents. The Red Cross provided a free night’s stay in a nice motel that I regrettably do not recall the name of.
In the morning we examined ourselves. Our parents had some marks and scratches from the accident but we were all fine. We returned to the campsite to see the extensive damage. The tent was dead; there was no saving it. The picnic table is what really saved us. If my brother hadn’t moved it, the tree would have completely fallen on us, but as it was, the table held an immense deal of weight.
Back in Sylvan Park, we still trust the trees, but only if they are healthy and if we have a picnic table very close by.
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