va·moose | \və-ˈmüs, va-\
Definition of vamoose: intransitive verb : to depart quickly
The night can be your friend when you’re camping. The haunting wail of loons on the lake lifts the melody of nature above the beat of the waves lapping on the rocks. The moon rises full and lonely, and the stars peek from behind their curtain of dark, one by one.
Sitting on the rocks by the lake as the veil of night releases and drops, is the closest I can get to inner and outer peace. The sound of the waves, constant and soothing, settles me deep into a meditative state, and the loons call to me.
I’ve made a bed of moss to soften the rocks that slope to the water, and pulled my sleeping bag out of the tent. The food is strung up, hanging on a makeshift line between two trees – safe from marauders, bearlike or bandit-like. In preparation for my night of sleeping under the stars, I have gathered metal lids from the cooking pots, a flashlight and a pillow of clothes.
I slide into the sleeping bag and zip it up. Laying on my back, I watch the satellites and shooting stars streak across the sky. The loons allow me one final call before drifting off to their own reverie. I’ve pulled the bag right up over my head, partly to ward off the hordes of biting bugs, but also to keep me warm. The camp is quiet. Everyone has settled in for the night. Sleep comes easily after a full day of paddling and portaging.
I wake to twitters and the sound of rustling inches from me. Shining my flashlight around the campsite, the glowing eyes of no fewer than six raccoons glitter back at me, as the marauders scamper around looking for morsels of food. But we’ve cleaned the site well, so they play with the berries from the tamarack tree, and sniff around the upturned canoes.
Reaching out of my bag, I grasp the pot lids in my hands and bang them on the rocks. The sound of metal on rock is grating and deafening in the silence of the night. The ‘coons don’t like it, and they vamoose into the bushes, their ringed tails flicking in the moonlight.