Lots of photographs by Tucker Cholvin at 37th and O
Set off in your truck. or foot. or bike. or stick out your thumb. or skateboard. or automobilethatisntatruck. and things will happen.
And if they don't, you'll know it was a day meant for solitude.
Yesterday was one of those endless-summer-days where a small "Hey" rolls into a pond and comes out on top.
I had just finished three hours of working with Miss N and Baby A and was ready to go sort out my day. I knew Tucker would be showing up on Lopez Island at 3:40 PM after a long year of him occupying Oxford (Yo, England!) and was going to the library to pick up some WiFi to make sure nothing had changed (nothing had) and to see if Sawyer had written (he had).
On the way over, though, I ran into Jesse and Kiré in the parking lot. Well, at least I ran into their automobile, their truck, "John Deere" - a giant green truck from the 70s if I remember correctly (I do). I parked next to John Deere and waited for them to come back. It was a solid 20 or so minute till their return, but I was content with the last 30 pages of the book I've been reading lately - East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I was surprised at how close I was to the end and excited to be finishing it this day because Tucker, the man who bought me the book, originally, was coming and it seemed like a lovely collision of timing to finish it upon his arrival. To signal their return, I heard a, "Tobbbitttt!" and dashed out into the road into the arms of Kiré and soon, Jesse as well. Life is worth celebrating.
We made plans for the later-evening and went our separate ways. Two blocks later I ran into Harrison, Lopez's favourite Kiwi, who was on running around town on his bike. He flagged me down and invited me to Isabel's to join he and Becca for beverages. I couldn't turn down an invitation like that. A quick turn and I was in the parking lot and soon had a cup of Harmony chai from Orcas Island, iced, in my hands to help counter the heat that had hit that day. In the parking lot was Gary, the lovely man who managed to find me and give me baby toys. He didn't have any toys for me but he had his polaroid camera and snapped a few shots, attempting a few through his newly acquired kaleidoscope.
In the conversations that we had, I learned that Harrison was leaving the island super soon and that Becca was moving her life from F. Farm to a small cottage in the north end that day. Tobbit, my truck, volunteered to help get her around the day. At one point she tried to give me cash for the fuel which would have been ridiculous for me to accept. So, so many people have driven me and my crap around - now it was my turn to return the favour.
With Harrison in the back, we set out to F. Farm where Becca got most of her belongings and packed them in Tobbit till he was full-to-bursting. Harrison grabbed his pack and a few more packs and two guitars were added to the mix - I already had my life (including my cello) in there.
In town, we ran into Sawyer and he joined Harrison in the back.
Three lives' worth of crap, and two humans in the back and two humans in the front. Tobbit was pretty proud. Even though he's basically just a car with a truck-bed, he felt like he was like a big-truck, in that moment. Tobbit's so tiny that the addition of just one other human makes a difference.
We sped off, or maybe we clunked along, or zipped away, to Becca's new abode.It was at this point that I got a bit antsy. Tucker's ferry was going to arrive at 3:40 PM and I wanted to be on time to pick him up. It was 3:35 PM at Becca's and I was anxious to get going. Soon, though, we had everyone packed back in, with a few bags unloaded, and were on the road.
There was Tucker, classic YMCA shirt on and glass bottle in hand.
Welcome to Lopez.
I've missed you.
Last year, I traveled about and sent Tucker postcards from every city I tasted. This was his year. Not only did he spend most of it living in Oxford, England, he also traveled about to just about every nook and cranny in that corner of the globe and kept me posted with fantastically written postcards. Being reunified with him is always a celebration and it seems like all that happens to us between our meetings were like the fillings, and our time together was the bread, we would have some delectable sandwiches.
Plans were made for that day.
We felt like swimming. I frequently park at a location with a pond. Voilà!
Time was killed in town as we tried to get a hold of Hans David. A call. A text. No response. We went to the grocery store to acquire beverages with an alcoholic content and, despite the fact that I wasn't buying any, my ID was checked, just, just in case. If my ID isn't ever checked, I think I'd report that place.
In separate cars, we headed south to my favourite corner of the island. Mid-way there, I realized that Harrison was still in the back of Tobbit, comfortably reclined on the bed and reading a book on Mormonism. Each time we stopped, I did an awful job at remembering that he was there and to let him out. We stopped by Jesper Farm to introduce Tucker to Jesse and Kiré and solidify plans more as the day morphed, as it always does.
Despite leaving at separate times and different stops, we arrived at the Skyriver Ranch around the same time as Sawyer and Becca. Skyriver Ranch is where I park most nights, the land I call home on Lopez - the stomping grounds for Tobbit and I.
We set out down the path to Eden. I love this land. G & I have created such a perfect world in their land, a refuge, a wonderland. Chickens roam around, goats call out, and the grass is perfect to collapse in.
On the way to the pond, everyone got to meet G & I. It was a time of world's colliding and I held my breath, wondering what would happen. What happened? Nothing 'cept good-stuff.
At the pond, we quickly stripped, some of us all the way, and ran in. I don't like wearing clothes and feel free when naked. It was bliss. The water was a bit lower than I was used to, but it was the perfect temperature. Tucker carried beer out to us all and we drank and swam about and watched out for whatever kept biting out toes.
Welcome to our Lopezian summer in all its perfection... 'cept the skeeters.
There were so many mosquitoes. Solo-skeeters, mosquitoes in swarms, dead mosquitoes squished on my arms and others sucking my blood out. My favourite way to avoid them was to spin and dash about with a quilt flying behind me. Finally, I realized that I probably just needed to put on my dress.
Eaten alive were we all.
As we were consuming our beverages and getting on clothes, I heard the voices of Jesse and Kiré! Sweet marmalade they came! I love getting hugs from those humans. I love seeing them three times in a day. I love those beautiful souls.
We hung out in the grass, despite the skeeters, knowing that we should probably find a new location, but were so comfortable that moving didn't totally make sense. In that moment, I felt so free. I felt so blissed out. I felt so grateful for life and the humans in it - each of them. Lounging and spinning and music and existence.
I introduced the crew to the baby pigs that have been running around for the past month or two. They run around like a flock, skittering about in a dismumbled dance of crooked unison. They'd sprint our way for a few seconds before dashing away.
Back in the center point of the property, G waved us down to show us what he'd been working on. G is a tool maker. This is where lives collided. Everyone met. All was well.
G asked if we wanted a steam and everyone certainly did. Before long, we had all stripped, again, and were tightly packed in the steambath as the temperature rose to a heat that clarifies the mind. We sang, talked, reflected, enjoyed each other's company, enjoyed the feeling of being clean again.
At the end of the day, everyone left 'cept Tucker and I. It was in this time that we got to reconnect after our months on opposite end of the globe. We didn't last long in conversation, though, before it was time to crash.