We woke up one morning and suddenly found ourselves leaving the Little Cabin In The Woods. The sun was shining for the first time in weeks, the trees dripping dry in the breeze, all the animals and birds squawking for joy [stellar's jays, redtails, ravens, crows, various song birds, chickadees, squirrels, chipmunks, the hum of the frogs in the marsh]. I imagine the deer were on the move and my darling little black bear might have been blundering about in the wild roses, nibbling on rose hips with his belly growling. I felt like Cinderella with all my animal friends, humming to myself as I cleaned, the birds chanting out exact harmonies, oh! The swish of the trees! The cabin slowly emptied out and I thought I could see the walls shivering in the absence of the warmth of all my little things. The road out was wet and slippery and we crept along, nearly rolling our entire rig on a sharp corner — thank God we made it down the mountain without a gruesome disaster. Higher up, in the sun, the snow was sloughing off the timber and stone of the North Cascades. I felt sad to leave the mountains behind, and our lonesome woods. As we soared down the Methow Valley, I watched the glorious forests roll back up into the high places until we reached the Columbia River valley where the hills are bare and brown and the stone suddenly turns mafic with the black dust of so many ancient volcano flows.
At Moses Lake, it rained most of the night. Sleeping in the belly of an Airstream trailer in stormy weather is like sleeping inside the curving frame of a harp. The raindrops pluck at all the metal edges of your glimmering cradle and suddenly you hear melody in everything. The wind moves in arcing falsettos. Sleep is some sort of deeply resonating thrum that drones in waves of slow vibration. The wind howl gently rocks you into long winks.
We watched, two nights in a row, a huge, orange moon rise up over mountains, the warm light of night pooling in soft illuminations as far as we could see, malleable shadows brushing the sage in slow swoops.
There’s something I have to tell you about being an Airstream owner, which is sort of like being a caretaker of a family estate, there’s some tenderness required for the caring of old bones. We delight in it. We like old junk with history, it’s why we live in a 106 year old farm house in Idaho — some part of it seems to be on the brink of falling down around our ears, at any given moment in time, but there are echos that resound in those dry old bones, in the solid points of the gables and the decrepit brick chimney, that hold the soul of these antique things that we cherish so dearly — the knowing that others, before us, built and loved the very frames of these things makes for a little holiness in unexpected places. I like to roll down the highway in my silver truck with our Airstream following us like a glad puppy dog, the smudge of gleam it leaves behind in every landscape, the way it refracts exploration. There’s more history being made with every mile we roll over now. I wonder, sometimes, how often the previous owners had their nails painted red (I want to dress like a cute little 50s housewife in floral print, suede and a silk scarf to hold my hair out of the tussle of the wind), how often a they craned their necks to watch the brilliance of transitional cottonwoods along stony flanked, brimming rivers, how often they looked out the windows as they raced trains over wide distances, whether or not they sighed at the beauty of a ponderosa pine and tamarack forest in fall. Oh glories! Oh, take to the highway!
Back in my darling little house now, there is the grandiose pleasure of cooking on a gas range in beautiful pots and frying pans (oh, the simple pleasures), our view of Scout Mountain lightly crusted with a dribble of snow, long hot baths in the morning with randomly selected books from my various book shelves and hot coffee made with water that boils on the stove top in four minutes instead of twenty. There’s the comfort of the glorious mattress we have on our tall, tall bed! I can barely make myself rise in the morning, it’s like I slept all the summer in the rolling curves of a canoe (I grew used to feeling rumpled and kinked)! I can’t even imagine leaving my little house again in six short months when a new fire season presents itself, so I don’t look that far ahead. Today, I begin to patch and prime my studio space before I paint it tomorrow. I’m looking forward to fresh new starts in my holy little territories. Being away from everything has made it all the more dear.
I hope you’re well, little spruce beetles. More soon.