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Kipling and Camping

By Sophia Deri-Bowen

“Now the Four-way Lodge is opened: Now the hunting winds are loose, Now the Smokes of Spring go up to clear the brain; Now the young men’s hearts are troubled for the whisper of the trues, Now the Red Gods make their medicine again!” John threw his arms wide, purposely dramatic, and declaimed his poetry to the trailhead they were standing at. If his voice didn’t quite boom—well, no matter. He did startle a squirrel, at least.

“Oh, shut up, please.” Evan shot him a dirty look. “Which horrible pagan said that?”

“Rudyard Kipling was not a horrible pagan, thank you, and I’ll not have you stain his name.” John checked the straps on his rucksack one last time, and led the way into the forest. The path, clear and well-trod here, curved its way to the left, and, unmistakably, gently rose. They’d have to get over this hill somehow, and John reckoned that the longer, though gentler, path might be best. At least for their first day.

Evan sighed, deeply, and started plodding after the other man. “Wasn’t he racist and imperialist?”

“Well, yes,” John admitted. “It rather came with the territory. But the man could write some good poetry.”

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