Lightning flashed in the distance and rain began to fall, each drop forming a tiny bubble on the surface of Moosehead Lake. We’d watched the dark clouds gather during our short paddle, and with a few words, we agreed it was time for us to turn our kayaks around and get back to Seboomook Wilderness Campground, where we were staying.
By the time we dragged our boats on shore, turned them over and hurried across the campground to our tiny cabin, our clothing was plastered to our skin.
For me, the storm was thrilling, and I had plenty of dry clothes to change into. But for my husband, Derek, and my mother-in-law, Geneva, who had arrived at the campground a day before me, the rain was starting to get old. It had rained, off and on, the entire time they’d been camping.
Derek’s brother and sister-in-law, Gary and Holly, welcomed us back into the cabin with something along the lines of “I told you so.” They’d been the first to arrive at the campground a few days earlier, eager to spend a long weekend in their new tent. But the rain had been a problem the entire time, catching them unaware as they attempted various adventures on the lake with their two sons. Their tent site had turned into a big puddle, and they were starting to run out of dry clothes.
Their 6-month-old son, Wesson, didn’t understand the damper the rain was putting on his first camping adventure. And their 4-year-old son, Micah, didn’t care. To him, the giant puddles that covered the campground were entertaining. The mud between his toes felt good. And if he didn’t have any dry pants left, he’d play pant-less, no problem.
His carefree attitude helped us all relax a bit and realize that frequent rainstorms didn’t have to ruin the experience.
It also helped that Derek had rented a cabin, and it had just enough beds to fit us all. The cabin was old but clean, small but free of bugs — and rain.
As we prepared supper, the rainstorm that had caught us during our paddle passed. Micah played with a giant blow up ball on the wet lawn, and the adults prepared dinner — grilled corn on the cob, chicken kabobs and various salads. When ready, we gathered around a small table in the camp’s kitchen and enjoyed our meal.
Knowing my interest in wildlife photography, my companions had told me about the many white-tailed deer that roam the property, especially in the evening and early morning. So when I heard what I guessed to be the beating of a fawn through the open kitchen window, I rushed to grab my camera. We then crept out onto the porch and watched a tiny deer — the smallest I’ve ever seen — emerge from the nearby field and gallop awkwardly down the camp road on gangly legs. Its little brown body was covered with white blotches, a pattern that helps it blend into the landscape and hide from predators.
Ahead of the baby deer, a doe raised its head from grazing in the field but otherwise didn’t move.
“Why isn’t the mother taking care of its baby?” Holly asked in a concerned voice.
I told her that fawns often lay in fields for hours waiting for their mothers to return from feeding, and that this particular baby deer just appeared to be getting impatient. Looking at the situation through my human lens, the fawn was being quite naughty, and the mother wasn’t giving in. Also, I pointed out, the doe might not even be its mother. On the other side of the camp store stood a young buck and two more does. The fawn hadn’t been abandoned. It would be just fine.
Later that evening, we built a campfire, slowly, with soggy wood, lounged in camp chairs, roasted s’mores and wowed Micah with sparklers. We then hit the hay early, comfortable and dry in our bunkbeds.
The rain always passes, eventually. And in the meantime, you may as well make the best of it.