June 29, 2012

Camping Part One

We went on an adventure.  A quick two night camping trip to Orcas Island in the Saun Jaun's.

I'll read you what I wrote. 

We're on our way in a tall white boat, sitting at a pale beige table decorated with brown Indian patterns.  A sprinkle of lunch crumbs dot our jeans and the dated mixture of brown-yellow banquets, sitting a top their old green bases.  Big picture windows across the isle are temporary homes to a fast moving view, with nary an orca in sight.  Curious eyes watch for whales until they grow tired and lay their heads on the very bench they sit.


A young boy in grey cammo shorts stumbles as the boat turns against a slow corner around an obstacle I can't see.  The door to the bow stands open and beacons me into the wind.

It's windy here.  A short plump girl stands on the front deck, very Titanic-esque.  She's wearing a short blue flowered sundress.  Her friends take pictures as she tried to hold down the hem.  Through squinted wind-whipped eyes a thousand shades of blue dance from the blue beneath my feet to the blues in the sky.  Islands of dark green, the coniferous variety, shape the passage the ferry takes as it shutters and shakes it's way to Orcas Island.

The heavy sweaters come out, the sun has disappeared.  The engine cuts out and we drift towards land.  A horn sounds long and low the way that boats do.  I wish I lived on an island among the firs and the spruce, where on foggy dark nights or during the endless year-round rain the horns serenaded me with their constant melancholy tune.

My husband looks so handsome to me, sitting on the bench beside, legs crossed under his knees.  A bag rustles, he's eating another pretzel.  The pretzel cracks as he picks at it with his front teeth,  in far more bites than necessary, the way he does with chips.  He's wearing those silly raybanz we order by the dozen, they're the wayfarer style we adopted in Portugal.  He insisted they be mirrored, not that I mind, my issue is in seeing myself in the reflection every time I come near.  His shirt is a checkered dark blue and white, the very comfy flannel and quite frankly winter style collared shirt he favours.  The well-worn and clearly approved jeans are from Spain, the pair we bought that fit him very well.  Though now he needs a belt that he's punched his own holes in, he got to skinny and they are forever falling down.

The island is green and quiet.  Mount Baker's eminent white cap emerges from the cloud.  It's a majestic mountain from any vantage point.  We're following twisted roads, branches from the beautiful arbutus kissing overhead.  Beautiful tall, purple foxglove line the road, like a beacon, the way lights guide an aircraft upon landing.   We drive to the ranger station to check in, she's wearing a dirty uniform.

We're here now, in a tiny camping outlet.  Surrounded by three sides of water.  No traffic noises (thank god).  Pine needles cover everything, raining down in a constant shower.  The roadway is soft with mud from ten months of rain.  The ground slopes at the back of our campsite.  It's covered with jumping roots, mossy covered rocks and shade.  Sticks crack under foot and where the land meets water it's alive with bugs.

Beyond me lies Mountain Lake, I stand on it's edge, small tree branches dancing, pulling at my hair.  The water of the lake moves swiftly, like runners warming up, constant, steady, fast.

It rained.  While dinner was in preparation the drops began.  Slow at first, then hard and sporadic.  There was a scramble, tarps were flung, cameras ran and books tossed.  I was at the center of a whirlwind.  Eventually it stopped, but not before the potatoes burned and our seats were wet.  Dinner was a success! Two pounds of clams and one cooked crab smoked open on the grill.  New potatoes, baby carrots and beets, a show stopping buerre blanc with dill and a crusty baguette to mop it all up.  There were pliers involved and a wistful lament about a crab fork.
Smoke has filled the heavens.  It mingles with wet forests and fresh island air.  Birds chirp their songs goodnight as the sun recedes.  A carefully curated orchestra in it's last act.  Fires crackle, neighbour's laughter drifts over, a tarp rustles in the wind.  This is what summers are made of.

1 comment:

  1. I have no idea how you pulled off such a feast for dinner while camping. I aim for hot dogs that aren't burnt and hamburgers with a little moisture left in them. You two are Amazing!

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