Last night, sleepy, sandy,
we climbed into sleeping bags, eyes scanning the sky for constellations.
"There are too many stars! I can't see them!"
Two girls, teetering on the edge of adolescence complained. They had never seen a shooting star.
We searched the sky, afraid to blink.
A brilliant ball lit up the sky directly above Juniper Canyon.
So bright, the comet? meteor? star? slid down into the mountains.
I gestured in the dark. Words tangled in my mouth. We gasped. We jumped up. We couldn't believe our luck, the four seconds, five, seemed to stretch on for minutes.
9:36 pm, Sunday night, Robber's Roost campsite. Rose and Lauren, Nora and Katie and I.
I kind of expected to feel the earth shake after such an auspicious sign.
We went back to sleeping bags, afraid to close our eyes, afraid to miss another...
In the pale white light of the headlamp we saw a flicker by the base of the bear box.
Pale, translucent, quickly twitching, the scorpion struck terror and future nightmares into the heart of campers.
"Kill it!" they begged, wishing to eliminate the potential enemy; the threat to their peaceful sleep. Fearful it would make its way to our sleeping bags with its painful, searing sting.
"Leave it! Leave it!" I begged, and we watched it scurry over to a log and crawl in a crack.
Yes. I admit it. I put on a brave front, and went to bed fairly afraid that all the scorpion cousins would find their way into our bedding, carelessly thrown onto rocky ground in the desert.
I prayed that karma would come into play, and our camp guest would spread the word about the fearless warrior woman who bravely displayed courageous mercy.
We awoke the next morning. No sustained stings, bites or other such inflicted injuries during our trip.
note: bear box: a large, metal bin for storing food and other smelly good stuff, with a bear proof latch. There are small, black bear in Big Bend National Park, but we have never been so lucky to see one at our campsites.
guest: I realize that in the desert, we were the true guests, disturbing the scorpion's habitat, and as we were intruders, a sting would have been quite natural and reasonable on the part of the scorpion, especially if we bumped into it and caused it fright. But I am exercising poetic license, and with it, the option of telling the story from my point of view! :)