One night there was a beautiful full moon rising, so my friends and I decided to take a break from the collective stress of our homework and head out to the IAIA. nature trails and to make an occasion of enjoying the ginourmous new moon. We made several pots of green tea and packed up some mochi and arare and headed out to the north side of the campus, past the Science and Technology building, and on to the trail that leads to the hogan. There is a smaller trail that veers to the left, just before you get to the hogan, but in the night it is hard to find, especially when you’re concentrating on anecdotes from Ethnobotany to Art History and all the little dramas that play out in class.
We headed out like a wedding party of red foxes in an Akira Kurosawa movie, except that we were a lot noisier. I cut some susuki (pampas grass) for decoration and took it with us. Paper lanterns and blue flashlights in hand, we wanted to get our moon viewing on. We probably looked like a Hokusai woodblock print: the moon, the landscape and a procession of overzealous students. O.K. so maybe not a Hokusai print, but maybe a Jonah Hill (recent graduate of IA) print.
As we wove through the grounds of the campus, we continued by just following our noses and and looking around in the quiet of the night for the start of the IAIA nature trails. Was it sheer dumb luck, or the superior cunning ways of our collective Nativeness practically oozing and radiating from our beings, which finally led us to the beginning of the trails? Probably the latter.
We finally found the trail, and walked all the way down to the area where two picnic tables and the wooden structure are. It was as though la bella luna was being rendered by different artists as time went on. Earlier, while on the horizon, it was clearly in its “Rory Erler Wakemup” phase: all big, fabulous and colorful. Then it went into a “Charles Rencouter” phase: big and stone colored. At present, the moon had shrank and was being very “Tressy Kien”””that is to say that it was giggly and fun-loving.
A few of us were anxious and sat down (without thinking about it) on one side of the picnic table. We poured some tea and before we knew it, before it REALLY registered in our minds, the opposite end of the picnic table started to rise…and before we knew it, we were no longer sitting vertically any more. It seemed like it took a while for us to fall backward while the picnic table rose above us. My inner voice actually had time to say “Are you serious, are we really falling backward?’
As everything that was once horizontal slowly crashed to the ground, I looked over to my friend’s face and saw a horrible worried look that I’ll never forget. I could hear the muffled screams of other friends, as they watched helplessly in horror. Tea cups and other things arced with us in this weird time vacuum in which there was nothing else we could do but accept our fate and fall backward…and so we did. When I finally landed on my back, my first instinct was to push back at the table with my feet (to push it away as hard as I could). When we landed, there was only silence”¦
Our friends rushed over to see if we were O.K. and pulled the table off us. Then we just started laughing! We couldn’t believe that what had just happend to us had happened to us. We laughed deep hard laughs. We gasped for more air so that we could laugh harder. It was hilarious. It really was. Needless to say our little adventure ended then and there. We dusted ourselves off and walked back to the dorms. We vowed to come back, but to stay as far away from those evil benches as possible.