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Lighthouse Keeper | 2013 | Is It You or Is It Me? -->


The aim of life is to live and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.  

-Henry Miller


Prefab Teepee

Ritual Fire  
The flower mala was burned before it was soaked, don't you fret.

The thunder rumbles, though we are only slightly damp. It seems that two iterations of wishing peace upon every nation on the world, one at a time with drumming interspersed, will have to suffice. Amber is intent to get soaked to the bone if that is what it takes, because we met at this peace drumming two years ago and she will be damned if she is going to give up that easily.

The rain pelts down at us and I smile. We may be witches, but I am fairly water resistant. Then, I detect bits of hail. Amber darts into the car to hide away our drums and my bag, but she still insists we are not going anywhere.

Though most of the gathered drummers flee, Amber and I make our way into a thirty foot teepee on the property. It was not here the last time we were, though Rhianna and Sue are exactly the types to have such a structure spring up in their yard. They apparently got the idea while visiting lodges in New Mexico. Once Rhianna set foot in one, she knew it was what she needed. For her, merely wanting it seems to be an immediate step toward it existing and, frankly, if someone told me that a person I know suddenly had a prefab teepee, her name would be the top of my list.

Sue explains, "They pulled up here in an eighteen wheeler, saying, 'We got an order for... teepee poles?' Poor guy was so confused."

I cuddle into Amber. We are both wet, but the teepee is remarkably dry, aside from a few drips Rhianna has yet to figure out. A dozen more people squeeze inside, sitting on half-chairs in the gravel. A man from my ex-fiancée Emily's clan works to build a fire in the center. Rhianna mentions that the teepee requires frequent fires to be happy, meaning this in a literal rather than spiritual sense. The smoke evidently kills mold and helps preserve the canvas used in place of dozens of animal hides.

However, as we had not quite figured out the balance between an open flue and a dry teepee, smoke quickly accumulates such that my eyes water and I crack jokes about how bad this will look in the press when our bodies are found, pecked over by their vindictive chickens who now have a taste for slow roasted human. I am going to smell as though I bathed in fire for a few days after.

This is not how most people are spending their Friday nights. They are watching movies or television, playing video games - as I otherwise would be - but I am nestled in a prefab teepee waiting for the hour to grow late enough or the storm to ebb. This is one of those scenes that seem specific to my life, one I usually do not consider out of the ordinary until I am typing it, though I am reminded of the holiness of the moment as it elapses. It is charming to realize that this is the sort of thing that can happen on occasion, quite by accident.

The lightning flashes through the hole Sue opens. If Amber and I didn't have an event at the Rhinebeck Aerodrome tomorrow - so I can fail to sign books and she can fail to sell art, both while watching antique planes - I can think of few things I would rather spend my night doing that warm in a teepee, swapping stories and jokes while the earth shakes from the storm.

Soon in Xenology: Amber's show. Activism.

last watched: Pacific Rim
reading: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
listening: Julie London

Lighthouse Keeper | 2013 | Is It You or Is It Me? -->

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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