I arrived at the event on the designated day. I was a volunteer and got early access and my pick of spots. It was an open field in a little valley and the surrounding hills were gorgeous.
I had driven off Mt. Rainer the same day and I literally drove through gale force winds. I mean, so bad, a couple motorcycles were creeping along on the side of the road. I have ridden in wind like that and I would not want to do it again. The Jeep struggled on the highway. It was bad all day.
I got to camp, it was still windy, but not quite the same as through the other areas. I set up and took advantage of every possible way to secure the tent. The wind ebbed and flowed, with some gusting. I had been in wind before while on the coast. It held and I was feeling good. I got my bearings and familiarized myself with my surroundings.
Day two came. This was the day the vendors and the general public would be permitted to begin entry to the event. I was on the docket for a late afternoon shift. The day was sunny, and yet that wind continued. It would gust at times. I was sitting in front of my camp watching all of the folks get settled into their spots. So many different trucks and cars and equipment and gear that merely observing was entertaining enough. I had contemplated taking off to do laundry or even tourist about, but chose not to. Thank God.
It was mid-afternoon and the wind continued, with pretty significant gusts. My tent took one gust too many and the entire side just folded. Bent right in. Shit! I sprang up and got inside. The main connection point was bent, one of the poles was bent, and the entire thing was listing. I went back outside to see if there was anything I could do. The gusts continued and I was literally holding on to parts of the tent, straining against the wind. I took the hit as hard as the tent did. I am still not quite sure what happened or why, but a flood gate of doubts, intimidation, inadequacy and overall disappointment hit me as I stood outside and held the tent. Now what?
I couldn’t exactly just run to the store and get another one. The closest REI was several hours away, and that would also mean I had to pack up everything and do so in the gusting winds. I could just leave the event, although I had a deal to volunteer in exchange for attending. I am sure they would understand the extreme circumstance. I considered staying at a local motel or hotel or whatever was around. This is a small town and I am sure that would have cost me some money.
As I stood outside holding the tent, I called an REI to see if they had one in stock. We discussed the bent poles. There is nothing they can do to fix the poles. But, because I am in the timeframe, I can exchange it at no cost. But, the stores I called did not have one in stock so I would have to buy one and then trade it. But, I got it on sale and did not want to pay 1/3 more than I did originally. Shit!!
I now had to change my entire plan. I had planned to stay in the area until I was due at my housesitting gig. It is pretty here and I would work my way South East as I choose. Well, not now. I did not have a place to live and I needed to address that immediately. Do I head into the big cities around Seattle to get the tent and then come back out to the woods in this area? Merely getting the tent would kill an entire day, let alone finding camping and so on. I was more and more deflated as I hung onto the side of the tent and struggled for what felt like dear life. I called a store that is between where I am now and where I needed to be later. But, it was not in a desired area. But, they had a couple of my tents in stock. They could not hold it for me, but will reserve it for 24 hours. I planned to call back 24 hours before I thought I could be there and make the exchange.
I decided all of this while still holding onto the tent from the outside. I got my small rope from the backpack and used that to secure the top section of the tent to the Jeep. That was something. Once there was some security, and a slight break in the wind, I decided to get out my real rope, which was in my extra supplies tote. That rope is much better suited to this job. I took the time to secure it around Two parts of the top joint in the tent and then tie it to the roof rack on the Jeep. There was no other option. The tent was erect, albeit crooked, and would not fold in that direction again. It was all I could do.
This rattled me to my core. I got all negative and down in the dumps. I felt defeated and scared and questioned my entire life choice. I felt grossly inadequate and questioned my ability and my sensibility. I looked around at the set-ups others had and I felt like a child in a grown up world. I saw folks with complete living areas, the ability to cook and wash dishes and hang outside. I did not see anyone whose living quarters collapsed or who was struggling. I felt out numbered and out geared and out of place. I felt small. The tent broke and, apparently, so did I. I did not realize we were so fragile to begin with. I did not realize one little thing could bring the whole house down, so to speak. I did not expect the tent to fail and I did not expect myself to feel like I did, too.
It is now a couple days later and I feel better. The tent has held, I have worked some volunteer shifts to keep my mind off my troubles, and I have had some good interactions with folks here. I was actually recognized today, “oh, you are that lady who sold all her stuff to hit the road”. That was a nice boost. The wind has calmed down and, at times, stops altogether. I am safe and sound in my bent tent and it is OK. Nobody really noticed the list or the tethers. Nobody knows that the zippers are struggling or that the floor plan as shifted a little.
In fact, the Universe sent me a message in my dreams last night. I had a dream where I was taken care of, loved, appreciated, and held in high regard in a very supportted and loving way. It was a dream where I had a partner and he was all about making me happy. When I woke up, I felt safe and secure and loved and warm and comforted. Those negative feelings were replaced by this love and support. I woke up feeling so much better! As my day unfolded, I worked a couple more shifts to help pass the time and met some new people. I still have to call and get my new tent reserved. I am now considering a different tent, but I will not rush into anything. I am not sure where I will go after the tent issue is resolved. I am even thinking about a motel for a night, perhaps some brewery visits as a treat.
In the end, the tent was not a total fail and I am not the first or the last person who will have a harrowing time with gale force winds pelting their tent. I am still processing my emotional reaction to a non-emotional event. I know I will not give up and I refuse to feel discouraged or inadequate or undeserving. I will forge ahead, I will address the tent issue and I will find somewhere else to call home. I will continue to look inside myself and explore my reaction. I will be OK. The Universe even told me so.
Cheers and blessings!