Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday on Whidbey

Sunday on Whidbey Island. Waking up in a room of people asleep on the floor, a dark haired girl asleep next me in bed, wrapped up in the covers she stole from me in the night. The smell of wood smoke is in my hair and clothes, and I'm thirsty. I go downstairs to get a drink of water from the kitchen. There are beer bottles and coffee cups settled on every table and counter space. Someone is curled up on the couch reading a book.

Steph is already in the kitchen cooking a huge breakfast and I wonder if she even went to sleep last night. Maybe she just hovered in the kitchen with the lights off till the house was finally quiet, then popped up and started cooking all over again. I take a seat at the table and comb out my tangled hair with my fingers. I think about the previous night, standing over a drift wood bonfire, which I think is illegal, constantly changing positions as the wind blew the smoke in poisonous circles.

The strange summer of one year ago, I started having funny dreams and would wake up in a violent snap- knowing there was somewhere that I needed to be. NOW. Trying to get to the bottom of the dreams, which I was having every single night,  I sent Will a letter. I think the ocean is calling, said the letter. As a reply he sent me a picture of someone walking along the beach. The picture was from a book I'd given him for his birthday, On The Loose. On the Loose includes the most important piece of writing on the planet, a forward by Terry and Renny Russel  called Have You Ever?

Have you ever walked 34 miles on a straight-arrow dirt road in the desert with only a Tang jar of some rusty water because you expected someone who didn’t come and then walked past your turnoff in the dark and had to sleep on a cattleguard? Have you ever dropped your sleeping bag in the ocean by mistake? Have you ever followed a jeep track in the rain, which got worse and fainter and fainter and petered out a vertical quarter mile from where you wanted to go? Have you ever slept on a cobblestone riverbank? Or on a sand dune on a windy night and spit sand all the next morning? Have you ever climbed a mountain but missed the right peak by half a mile but the sun was down and you were freezing and had better find some dry wood and a place to sleep in the snow quick?

It goes on.
So here I am, by the ocean, now, feet on the cold sand, salt dusting my skin.

When the moon rose everybody went still to watch it. They talked about it being a blue or a harvest or an equinox something. There is was a smattering of lunar discussion. I can't really keep track of this stuff. I cracked open another beer and said something dismissive, something like "Looks good to me!" and go out to the fire.

My friends in Seattle are smart and earnest and responsible. They talk about public transportation and elimination diets.  My friends in West Virginia are of the live wet die young mentality. They talk about white water, raft carnage, kayaking, sex, and booze. (A lot of them, as its turning out, do indeed die young.)

I get a little lost in between.

Which just means, whenever I wake up I take a moment time to remind myself where I am, who I'm with. Who I'm going to be today.

I clear the table and start to set it for breakfast, tallying in my head just how many people are here. I've met a handful of new people, I'm very excited to say. Last night I met a girl at who used to work on fishing boats, and she knows all these sea shanties. It was a miracle. We sang all night on the beach as empty amber beer bottles of beer collected in the sand at our feet. She has stories of wrecked boats and knife fights. I'm starstruck, a little bit, like I've just met a real life cowboy.


After breakfast, the foraging:

We dry off afterward for a few hours with an ultra competitive, caffeine and rain induced battle of Sets. Suddenly and without warning, I get my ass seriously handed to me. By a lot of people. As in, uh, whoa, these people are way smarter than I. I go and take a nap. 

And then, we take off running.

1 comment:

Zach Hoyopatubbi said...

Lovely story captured in your photographs!