June 11, 2013

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning, our tent of 12 years collapsed and my grandpa died.

I had spent the early hours of Sunday battling the furious wind sweeping in from the Gulf of Mexico. Emerging into the darkness countless times, I had roped and staked and duct taped our poor tent, trying in vain to prevent more brittle poles from cracking in the gusts that whipped my hair and swirled sand into my eyes.

It was too much for our tent. She slowly lost the resilience to push against the wind. Slowly lost strength. Slowly sank under the weight of her own self.

Sunday morning, when I removed the spiderweb of staked ropes that had managed to keep her artificially upright and us dry through the rain, two of her poles cracked, and she collapsed in a fluttering heap of unresponsive nylon and splintered fiberglass.

Our brave tent that had been our quiet, faithful companion through countless trips and adventures had breathed her last. She had seen us through our newlywed years, provided shelter for crying babies, withstood chipmunks and squirrels chewing holes in her, harbored us through rainstorms and snow. She represented laughter. Simplicity. Family. Hard work. Love.

I looked at the twisted pile that was our tent and felt a deep ache. I couldn't just throw her away as she was. Slowly and methodically, I took her apart one last time. I carefully removed clinging duct tape, folded her mangled poles, rolled her up gently, and carried her to the dumpster, where I tenderly laid her amidst the debris.

And then I walked away and wept for my grandpa, the wind whistling through the hole his death had left in my heart.


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