April 8, 2019
by Douglas Blaine Matthews (author's profile)



Dear Reader,
Hey. I hope you are doing well!

It was a Wednesday or Thursday night. I know this because it was a night we cooked in our own camps. And we only did that during those two days of the week.

I was in my tent, a sturdy tent with a log frame. About seven large poplar trees and about 30 smaller ones go into building the things we lived in. Four kids to a tent and the chiefs' tent. Me and three other kids were goofing off about how hard it was raining.

We could see the night clouds flashing as the thunder rolled through them loudly, and the bolts of lightening split down from the skies, cracking against the earth somewhere in the distance. It was an insane storm and the chiefs came around to the tents, tellings us to grab our morning hygiene stuff, a change of clothes, and our sleeping bags. All camps were ordered to go to the Chuckwagon Building to ride out the storm. It was about 10 or 11 at night. We did so, put on our ponchos, and stood by the door. It was going to be a race. I knew it, they knew it, and now—you know it.

We're bunched by our door and I can see the other kids doing the same. We were all race horses waiting for the gate to drip. And then it did. Chief P (not his real name) came out of his tent and waved his arm to follow.

I burst through my tent door, swung under the railing, and took off down the mountain. I'm zipping down the trail and the two fastest kids in my tribe caught up to me. We all had to slow down to take a sharp turn on the trail when it happened. A loud crack that sounded like a tree exploding. A bright flash that shot up to the sky, from the root of the tree less than three feet away from me. So fast, I hadn't the time to blink, a long glowing ember falling down from the entire length of the tree and this energy filled hum—ringing in my eyes and flowing through my body. It was like the air was electric and caught fire for a millisecond all around me. I just stood there, realizing what it was and trying to figure out if I was hit by it. Waiting for my skin or hair to catch fire or my brain to feel like it was boiling.

A few moments went by and the other kids caught up with us. The chief was worried we got hit, asking us questions. I remember in that very moment, still buzzing, standing in a heavy downpour of rain, thinking of the movie Earnest Goes to Jail. That's right, the one where Ernest gets electrocuted and has the ability to shoot electricity from his fingers. Ha, ha! Yup! I wondered the rest of the night, hoping I'd be able to do that! Ha! :D

Of course, I could not and was not hit by the lightening. The buzzing I was feeling was a mix of circumstance. The lightening did electrify the area but only for the briefest of moments. That, and my sudden spike of adrenaline, and my heart rate being elevated with excitement, had me buzzing big time.

Less than five feet from me the lightening exited the tree roots. That was close! And it was an awesome moment. One we talked about until a week later, when we were all swimming in the pond when two snakes zeroed in on us. They were just harmless water bandits, but we thought they were water moccasins because someone screamed out, "Water moccasins! Get out! Get out!" :Z Yup, you guesses it—Viper Boy from the river trip. He really didn't know his snakes. But we all darted out of the water. It was fun. Any time danger was passing—it was fun. :D

I hope you've enjoyed reading some of my moments in the wilderness camp. Next blog post I'll be sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago. It gets hard in here sometimes, and it's moments like those, when the misery is simmering, that I do my best writing. I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time.

Yours truly,


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