|Let the road narrow and become dust,|
let the trees tower tall and green,
let me at those wild lakes,
and let my cares give way,
when the vessel of time begins to careen.
Annual camping collective on the Keweenaw Peninsula
The treetop busted free from the tree trunk and I went running. Instinctively, I put my arm over my head as I ducked and high stepped over the underbrush in my way. I had only made it a few steps though, before I realized there was no crashing sound, no avalanche of debris, and when I turned to look back I saw the top of the dead spruce suspended by a network of branches; I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed how ridiculous I must have looked after having been so keen on kicking the rotted bottom.
The camp was only a couple dozen yards away, but I was screened by a dense swath of ferns, undergrowth, and small firs - embarrassment avoided.
"Not too suave on that one, Seth." I muttered to my boots. Then I realized, it doesn't matter how dumb the incident might have looked, we were deep in the woods. Who was I trying to impress after all, these were my friends, they knew just how graceful I could be (sarcasm).
And yet, there was some work that needed to be done. We needed dry wood to get a dinner fire going for 11 people, and I was downright hungry. Since making camp on the wooded cliff overlooking Lake Superior two days prior, we had made it a point to not travel into town for anything save ice, so our firewood had to be foraged daily from the Keweenaw timber surrounding us.
Treetop crisis abated and firewood resolve reinstated, I turned back to the tasty morsel of tree hanging overhead. Its fine, bare, crispy branches were all the size of my pinky finger, and I knew they would make excellent kindling. I backed up against a small hill to get a running start, then ran and launched myself at the bottom of the dangling trunk, leading with my right hand outstretched. At the apex of my jump, I felt bare fingers close around dry bark, and I let my bodyweight do the rest of the work.
I like to believe I appeared as a flannelled spider man soaring through the air...