The next day broke fine and I awoke to the sounds of banging pots and pans and A-D singing tunelessly. Hoping he’d made coffee, I crawled out of the tent to discover him making flap-jacks.
“Look, a flapjack ukemi,” he said, tossing one high in the air. I’m sure he didn’t intend for it to breakfall on the ground, although it seemed to please a nearby chipmunk.
“That one’s yours.”
I decided coffee would be enough for the moment.
Later, as I returned from washing the dishes, I was puzzled that Aiki was nowhere to be seen. Deciding to go for a walk, I soon found him in a nearby clearing: he was either doing shin kokyu or pretending to be a tree - it wasn’t quite clear to me.
My attempt to slip past un-noticed failed and he loped over to join me for a stroll in the woods. He was carrying his jo, and stopped periodically to do battle with Little John, or Musashi, or Darth Vader - at times it seemed like all three at once. That didn’t bother me, but it was a little hard on some of the trees. Thankfully I managed to successfully intervene when he was swinging close to a wasp’s nest.
We returned from our hike and decided to take the canoe out for a paddle on the nearby lake. That went pretty well, despite the fact that Aiki-Doh!-ka insisted on singing what he called samurai drinking songs, at least until he commenced doing tore fune undo.
Not a good idea in a canoe, and our paddle quickly turned into a swim…
So it went for the next few days until it was time to go home. As we packed up the car I noticed that the leaves were beginning to turn, signaling the close of summer and the camping season, and I looked forward to getting back to the dojo for some rest…
Summer is beginning to fade here in Ontario, and as I cast my mind back to the past summer, what jumps out for me is my camping trip with Aiki-Doh!-ka. Now, when I go camping, I like to get away from it all, have a bit of a break, strip life down to the basics; to me that would include not thinking too much about my kamae, or aikido in general.
Not so with A-D.
With Aiki, everything is everything, and to him everything is aikido. So I should have known I would have a few reminders of our mutual passion if I brought him along.
You have no idea.
First, it was the meditation and stretch before we got in the car for the long drive to the great outdoors. Not a bad idea. But we had to do it again upon our arrival. And then there was the whole thing about how to set up the tent to be sure that shomen faced north and that our weapons were lined up properly inside the the door (the air mattresses were the tatami) - I have know idea how he got my weapons in the car without me knowing.
After camp was set up, we cobbled together a quick meal, anxious to get a fire going and kick back for the evening. Nothing remarkable about dinner unless you count Aiki attempting to catch mosquitoes with his chopsticks. Finally we got things squared away and found ourselves settled around a roaring fire. We sang a few songs (including Sakura), roasted a few marshmallows (A-D tried roasting mochi; can’t say I’d recommend it), and eventually the fire burned down to a bed of glowing coals. Aiki-Doh!-ka couldn’t resist burying a stick in the embers to get the end all a-glow, and then, rather than write his name in the air, proceeded to do kihon dosa as if the burning brand was a bokken. That’s when I realized it looked a little bit too much like a bokken, and promptly checked the tent for mine. It was missing. I’ll get even…
To be continued…