Up until around two weeks ago, I thought that I might actually get through the whole of a winter without a single cold, even without a sniffle or cough. Talking to my Dad, he’d said he couldn’t remember there ever being a winter where I didn’t get hammered by one at least once, and I couldn’t either. Maybe it has something to do with the grand size of our noses: respiratory viruses just can’t possibly turn down such prime real estate.
Alas, the Winter Without Colds was not to be. Wound up with one, and one where the little edges of the thing seem to keep holding on some, seeming like it;s gone, then coming back just to taunt me. But I was SO FREAKING CLOSE.
I’m betting this has something to do with spending more time in town right around the time I caught the little bugger.
“Town,” otherwise known as the area on the island where, for about four blocks square, there are things like a grocery store, a few restaurants, some shops and people, rather than numerous tress, beach, a lot of mushrooms and critters, big and small, with even more hair than I have. The latter makes up far more of the island.
It’s hilarious to me, as someone who spent the vast majority of their life so urban to live somewhere where there is “town.” It doesn’t seem weird at all to live in the forest, after all, forests are where I always got myself to when city life stressed me out: living here usually just feels like I decided to go camping and never come back. (Something I truly wish I had done long before I did, for the record. I have few regrets in my life, but not getting rural far sooner than I did is one of the few, and a big one.)
I like our town: I find it charming. While the forest feels like home, town doesn’t, not yet, anyway: I feel more like I’m visiting some provincial little place as an amused observer. That perhaps sounds condescending, but I don’t mean it that way. Rather, I just feel like a fish a bit out of water, but in a way that isn’t uncomfortable. I want to squeeze half the people we see or run into in town, because so many of them — and the places they make and keep up — have a kind of soft, zany sweetness I admire but don’t think I myself possess.
I can probably look forward to it, though. One of the nice things of living in such an isolated way in such a gobstoppingly beautiful place is that there’s really nothing to be besides yourself; no one to model yourself on or either try to conform or contrast yourself to but yourself or the land. There are people who move here who find out it isn’t for them pretty quickly; I suspect that liking this kind of place or not has a great deal to do with whether you like to be forced to turn and look inward pretty much 24/7 or not. If you don’t, this would be a pretty hellish place to be, I imagine.
I love it: it feels like getting a giant permission to do what I’ve always generally been inclined to do in the first place, but to do it, always either had to get out of the city and run off to somewhere like this, or drop LSD, or lock oneself in one’s apartment for days, or maybe find one other person where you could both really sink into just the two of you, at least limiting the amount of other-input to one, rather than so many.
We have some folks who live on the island in tents on other people’s land, or who, I suspect, do a good deal of couch-surfing. I really feel like I never want to leave here, even with some of the downsides — like the fact that Pacific Northwest summers are really just springs in disguise. If things ever turned around where renting here got impossible, I strongly suspect you’d find me seeking out a place where I could just borrow some space for a tent, wishing I could grow out a beard to match.