When three hundred people embark on a seven-day bicycle tour, it is not surprising when they face some form of drama. Potential issues can arise from equipment failure, not eating enough or dehydration, relational tensions, extreme weather conditions, or the dreaded bicycle accident. Day 6, on the other hand, presented a threat that none of us could have imagined.
Though we bedded down for the night under clear, windless skies, I awoke to sudden gusts whipping the walls of our tent. My husband, Michael, slumbered under a steady snore. It was 4:45 AM; I had thirty more dreamy minutes before our morning cycling preparations commenced. Ignoring the trembling tent, I snuggled further into my feathery cocoon, but I couldn’t fully rest with lingering concerns of our friends’ canopy outside. It had served as our shady oasis beneath the sunny 100-degree days and by night it kept the morning dew off our bikes; but would it withstand this startling windstorm?
Soon I heard John and Susan moving about; Ahh, they are taking care of it, I thought. I didn’t know the first thing about taking down giant square umbrellas so it was easy to justify my inaction.
Four, five, … ten minutes passed and they were still rustling about. Something must be wrong; I thought, so I stepped outside to find them holding down a wrangled aluminum structure. “The canopy got caught by the wind …”, Susan’s wide-eyes revealed that they had battled a frightful force. “It flew up in the air and I grabbed one leg; it was flying over your tent!”
One of the legs had bent under the opposing forces of this determined couple, who grounded the tent in-flight, forcefully folded its unruly tentacles and prevented a potential piercing of friends and neighboring tents.
Our activities director had been inviting our tour group to write a Haiku about our experiences; she would post them in camp for others to enjoy. Haiku is a short form of Japanese poetry, consisting of three phrases with 5, 7 and 5 syllables, respectively. I had felt completely uninspired by this idea – until now. Before I left camp that day, I had the first phrase written and the final two before I biked to the first rest stop. It goes like this:
Sues’s grip stopped sleeper spearings
Jens’ bike days roll on.
John and Susan each crafted one as well.
Wind fury grab tight
Blow whip blow scary morning
At last peace returns.
– Susan Keys
Storm rise is sudden
Shelter torques, bends now to junk
Next camp the sun bakes.
– John Keys
Michael, being of Taiwanese descent, scribed a Chinese poem which is composed of four phrases of five words each. English translation follows.
Canopy attracts big wind
Single handed pulled it down
However leg is broken
But save my good friend Jen.
Have you ever written a Haiku? Would you like to share it with us? Please post it using the comment section.