Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our "La Bohème" moment

E didn't have school on Monday, so on Sunday our family drove to Hanging Rock State Park for a quick overnight camping trip. As darkness fell that evening, we discovered ourselves reenacting the opening scene of Puccini's "La Bohème."

Night time: a chill hovers in the air. The wind blows; droplets of water from an earlier rain shower drizzle down from the canopy of trees above. Gloveless fingers are cold; our child shivers. In a desperate effort to light a pile of damp wood, S makes a sacrifice, crumpling up three precious pieces of paper and tossing them on the struggling flame. "My review," he says: "let my burning review warm us." Thought bursts into flame; the paper dissolves into ashes, and academic prose ascends to the skies. What a cheerful spark! But it doesn't last long. (Is brevity a virtue?) In that languid blue flickering, a title page and cover letter go up in smoke. Thus are the ideas of brilliant men integrated, beautiful, to vanish in a joyous flash.

And then--success--the wood lights, without our having to burn any chairs or picnic tables. Now enter children: friends who coincidentally happen to have a tent pitched four campsites up the one-way loop, there celebrating the brief and festive days between the oldest son's hard-core soccer league practices.

Marshmallows! Graham crackers! Chocolate! We eat and devour--S'mores! We sit in the collapsible camping chairs (they wouldn't have burned well anyway) by the fire and share a glass--nay, a dented aluminum cook pan--of cherry tea. (Alas, Bordeaux isn't allowed in NC State Parks.) Hark, is that a cough? Relief: it's not tuberculosis, just dense smoke.

So much merriment is had by our protagonists that, the next morning, E declares "this was actually way more fun than I thought it would be." Maybe we should take him to see "Tosca" at the NC Opera this fall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Liz!
I don't have your email addy so I'm just commenting. Thanks for the swell chickens! I have a fondness for chickens but can't have any of my own because of my close proximity to my neighbors. It was very kind of you to send them-I love their tiny heads.
I think I'm starting chemo on Tues. but I still have to do some tests. I don't know exactly what's going on, I don't think. Anyway, we'll keep you posted.