I don’t fish. I barely even eat it. But my son said on my way back to Southern California that I should stop by one of his favorite hideaways about an hour east from Medford, Oregon.
Normally, I camp. I had all the equipment neatly organized in the back of the Subaru. In fact, I bought new gear especially for the trip up and back. But when my son told me what a great time he had staying at the rustic cabin overlooking the lake, I decided, What the heck, I’ll treat myself to cabin life.
The cabin looks like it’s from the 1950s. The furniture is crude, laminate floors and fake butcher block counters, a futon couch, sponge-painted dresser from the 90s, that kind of thing. The kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are ultra-tiny. But it’s perfect. Just what I was looking for to transition into my new vagabond life. Quiet. No TV. No internet service. Just my own books, art, writing, thinking and walking.
It’s hot in the day, cool in the morning and evening. No extremes that can’t be remedied.
I strung my prayer flags and twinkle lights along the porch awning, establishing that the cabin’s my place for a couple of days. I was going to head back today, but I figured, why not spend the extra night so I can really reflect and relax?
It’s strange how doing nothing feels like doing everything. It’s baffling how talkative-me does just fine talking to no one. I feel the breeze, listen to the geese circling over the lake, stay in the shade when it’s too hot and hang out in the shade of the cool wood planked porch. I’ve cooked nothing but healthy foods, drank a little Willamette wine, and walked down to the resort café to buy a slice of homemade berry pie just out of the oven. I’ll have that a little later after doing my Girl Scout-best to start a fire with no kindling.
Look, I wish it weren’t so, but I suck at making fires.
Even though everything is old and anti-designer, I feel like I am staying at a five-star hotel surrounded by old-growth pine trees ornamented with hanging moss garland. Monet’s happy to walk around without a leash and when she’s done sunning herself, she jumps on the bed to nap. Her ease at relaxing is inspiring.
This is not the kind of resort fancy people would like. My sister, who is far from fancy, would likely be creeped out by the nightly bug show buzzing around my outdoor lights. But the creatures of this Golden Pond oasis fascinate me.
So, this is what it feels like to be peaceful? This is what it means to have no agenda?
It’s like I’m in the middle of a poem.
It feels like Norway, Yosemite, Alaska, places far away. It feels like I’m alone, but at the same time everyone is with me. I see their ghosts walking down to the lake with a cup of steaming hot cocoa and a tennis ball to toss to Monet.
There’s no hooting and hollering. No drunken airhorns or blasting rap. Just the hum of wasps and squawks of birds celebrating the impending sunset.
Could I live like this? No worries. No deadlines. No grandchildren. For a spell, yes. As long as I can touch basis with my loved ones, yes, I think I could enjoy more frequent encounters with solitude.
All those years working, all those years prepping and grading, looking over my shoulder lest I innocently offend a student or parent and re-appear on the principal’s naughty list, seems to have taken its toil.
Not being “wrong” or misunderstood feels good.
Breathe in the wild fire-free fresh air. Breathe out the crap. Breathe in the positive. Breathe out the decaying crap.
I need to memorize the cawing crow and the quivering poplar leaves, this paint-chipped picnic table and the volcanic rock firepit. I’m sitting in a post card, domed by pinhole stars.
I think I’ll wait until the fire–yes, the one I successfully lit and is now a mini-bonfire–turns to embers and wait for a shooting star.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, that fresh-picked, just out of the oven, berry pie was pretty spectacular. Thanks chef Sarah. It was worth every damn calorie. If I time it right and the café is open in the morning, I’ll get a slice to go.