when i am at an encampment, i usually wake up at first light. camp is silent save for the occasional nicker of a horse. on this morning, i stay in my blankets beneath the small square of oilskin that is my home for the week. i have water and jerky in my pack, and eat while i wait for the sun to rise.
this is the first thing i see as the light grows. i slow my breathing in an effort to slow time.....i do not want this moment to end. sounds around camp pick up....wood being chopped, tent stakes being hammered, dog soldiers calling out to each other. smells of woodsmoke and bacon cooking drift on the air. barefoot children gather on the pond banks, then come to squat by my shelter to show me the frog they caught. i plead amnesty for the frog....they cheerfully grant it. the sun burns off the last of the mist, and i know where i am.
i am home.