Tuesday, June 27, 2006

One of Life’s Perfect Moments

We went up to Orcas Island on Saturday to camp overnight and maybe do some work. I had big plans—dig out the fire pit until it was the island-safe six feet in diameter and pave it with cement bricks; clear more area in the willow copse and build shady rustic stairs with some of the boulders strewn around the base of the trunks; water and prune and generally care for the plantings we put in last fall. I was tired, though, presumably from the oceans of stress hormones I’d been bathing in for weeks, and so was easily convinced that the current fire pit, once the thistles and snake were removed (me: A SNAKE!” Ian: “Is it a garter snake?” me: “Uh . . . it’s brown.” Ian: “It’s a brown garter snake.” Me: “There aren’t poisonous snakes here, are there?” Our friend Erik: “Not native ones.” ha ha, Erik. Me for the next ten minutes: “Oh! Was that a snake? Aagh! Was that a snake?”), was entirely safe enough for our purposes.

Late in the afternoon, having leaned over our deer cages to water the plants (instead of the infinitely more laborious removing of the deer cages to water the plants) and having recovered from the snake scare, we three humans and our two dogs hopped into the 4-Runner and drove up to the north end of the property, to see about clearing space in the copse. Throughout the afternoon Ian and Erik had been discussing, considering that we didn’t have refrigeration yet, nor ice, the most effective way to cool three of the pounders of Rainier Ale we had stored in the outhouse. Each can in a wet sock, held in a breeze (i.e. from the motion of the car) was deemed to be the most effective way, using the magical powers of evaporation. Ian duly sacrificed three of his socks (the clean ones) to the cause and we bounced slowly away over deceptively lumpy ground and through five-foot-tall grasses, almost running over a young buck that apparently assumed, until the 4-Runner was breathing down his back, that if he just lay still we wouldn’t see him. Well, it’s true, we didn’t. In the nick of time, he leapt up from under our right front bumper and vaulted away over the grass. We pulled up by our pear tree, absolutely laden with pears after the rudimentary pruning we gave it last fall.

As I roamed around marveling at the fruit (a plum tree was also bearing, evidently also due to our bumbling attempts at plant husbandry), Ian managed to sneak into the copse and thus set up my Perfect Moment.

And here is where I’ll, for only the space of a few lines, lapse into full-on travel blogger descriptive language ridiculousness.

When I arrived in the center of the copse, having pushed my way through sun-warmed Vitamin C-and-rose-scented clinging vines, Ian was standing next to our hammock, which he’d smuggled up from Seattle and strung in the dappled shade between two old willow trunks. “Here, sweetie-pie, do you want to try it out?” he asked. Uh, hello! Yes! All thought of heavy labor, of clearing brush and building boulder staircases, fled from my mind.

I climbed into the hammock, lay back, and felt myself—body, mind and soul—ease into bliss, a fear-free bliss I hadn’t felt in a long time. Fresh green leaves trembled in the breeze above my head, irregularly framing a cerulean sky. The temperature was perfect—not a hint of hot nor cold. The hammock, a brightly-colored, tightly-woven one Ian had brought from Brazil three years ago, supported my body completely and gently—no rope mesh digging into my tender flesh. I lay there in a pool of shade in a lambent afternoon, surrounded by love, surrounded by peace, surrounded by quiet land and birdsong, in a bit of nature that I have somehow had the extraordinary good fortune to call my own.

And then someone handed me a—well, if not perfectly chilled, at least somewhat less warm than the afternoon—can of stale Rainier Ale, and my satisfaction was complete.


Erik said...

It was a good weekend all around. Tasty food, happy dogs, happy people, in the sun.

KateMV said...

That hammock in the trees looks like it was just made for you.