Two of the blogs I read regularly both posted about tents recently. Yes, tents. Those nylon wonders that protect and serve in such a simple manner. What's not to love about something that gives you the freedom to sleep where you want, when you want?
How many trips and summers living in the mountains did I get to appreciate the whole fabulousness of setting the damn things up after 4 beers in the rain? Or of finally laying down to sleep only to realize that I set the thing up on an ant hill? There were many times I got to go camping and had never been so grateful for that trusty tent, ready to grant me shelter when the skies opened and the lightening cracked.
But I think my most favourite memories of tents has to be those tents that the dreadlocked hippies would sleep in during the summer music festivals where I used to work.
I don't know how they did it, but there must have been some sort of dreadlock telepathy or microchip grown into all that hair that notified everyone with a dread within a 200 miles radius to find their tents, load up their beat up old VWs, and head to our mountain for a weekend music festival of either rock or bluegrass.
There would be about a hundred of them sporting the most amazing locks in all shades and shapes and all I ever wanted to know was, where on earth had these people been hiding when there wasn't a music festival to go to? I never saw a dreadlock working at McDonalds, nor Target, not even the health food store in town. And then WHAMO. One crazy weekend in August, there they all were.
The dreads would stake out their tents around the resort's parking lot and start signing and dancing, just being happy and free. I felt like I had been transported back to the legendary world of the Grateful Dead when they were on tour. Tents of every colour, tents of every smell, tents pitched on the top of vans, tents pitched in the woods. Just like little mushrooms growing their happy hippies inside.
Usually on these weekends the weather would turn and the poor little tent village would get inundated by the mountain run-off as it went screaming through the parking lot to the ponds just below the resort. And inevitably, regardless of how many signs we put up or how often we told them not to, at about 1:30 in the morning we'd get reports of the dreads swimming in the cess pool.
Thank God most of them were too "happy" to realize just what they were swimming in.
And then WHAMO just like that, the tents and the dreads would be gone. Back to their normal lives where they would roll up their raw sewage smelling tents, stuff them way in the back of their parent's basement, then tuck those fabulous dreads up out of sight and go back to work at Starbucks, happy in the memories of another wonderful weekend of being free, being sheltered, regardless of the rain.
(You know, even now, 10 years later, the camping section of a sporting good store makes me start to hum Alison Krauss and a little bit of The String Cheese Incident. But I digress...)
We bought a massive great big tent two summers ago before Rosie got on the scene. It's literally a 3 room tent with a small lounge as well. The thing is so heavy that I can't even lift it. It mocks me from it's corner in the basement, begging me to find a music festival so that Mini-Husband, Bubba-Love, The Princess and Rosie can spin around in muddy circles next to a camp fire while Hubster dreams of all those 5 star hotels he stayed in back in the good old days before children and dogs.
But, my friends, I know it's there. I know it's waiting...
Come on, let's grow some dreads.