Saturday night, just before dark, dinner line on second helpings, sky overcast, the evening card games crept up slowly as an aperitif. As we were dozens of miles from any cell reception, I’d just about inferred that Colin wasn’t going to make it, when he sat down beside me on the picnic bench. The shift sudden and complete, from my perspective, no arrival or hello or waving from the road, as he walked right up behind me, and sat down in surprise.
As I helped situate him into camp (guiding him to dinner first, sleeping arrangements second, beverages third) we navigated the hundred people and dozens of tents and what I imagined was a bit of an overwhelming scene, to drop in right at the peak of it all, full of strangers, looking for our few familiar faces. I learned that he’d been around for a few hours, in fact, trying to find us. I felt bad — I knew that feeling, of being lost, looking for something, uncertain if you were going to find it. I’d given him GPS coordinates and screenshots of maps and with those he had even walked down to the beach while we were there and found the volleyball courts, but had missed us entirely, whoever he had asked about “The Hulls?” responded that “No, this was a volleyball thing.” From his perspective, it had been a surprise to find us at all.