The first time I slept outside
I slept outside in the sixth grade in a Girl Scout pup
tent. They said to dig a trench around the tent. The ground was hard. Mary Frances and I tried digging one. I didn’t know what it was for. It seemed like mean busy work. Ditch digging was a term I used for what you would have to do when you grew up if you didn’t study hard.
In the night I found out what it was for. It poured rain. We were slanted downward on the side of a hill. Water and the loose dirt of our half-inch ditch came rushing in, over, and underneath us.
A frog jumped right beside my head. I jumped out of my sleeping bag fearing more were inside it. If this is what Girls Scouts was all about, I wanted out. Earlier we had cooked hamburgers and potatoes on our homemade tin can grills.They were good, but not like the fabulous s’mores with marshmallows burnt over the open fire. We didn’t get around to breakfast.
I didn’t quilt Girl Scouts immediately. Another trip promised cots, a large tent that could sleep six. I went. I didn’t like being with that many people. The pup tent with just Mary Frances was more comfortable psychologically although then I didn’t know what that meant. I quickly got 11 badges including swimming when I took the test in the muddy waters of Fairview Beach. I had had enough. I never sewed the badges on the band that went over your shoulder and crossed your heart, but I still have it. I haven’t slept outside since. I don’t like the heat, humidity, bugs, frogs or threat of rain.
I have bought a house that has a completely natural back yard with tall trees. I stroll often in it touching the trees, remembering my dog that is buried there, looking at the ground covered with leaves, and letting nature soothe me.