If there’s anything cozier than holing up in an Airstream during a thunderstorm, I’d like to know what it is. Better than the proverbial rain on a tin roof is the rhythmic tattoo of a downpour on a tin can camper. After three weeks of sunshine, a few days of showers have been a welcome gift: not only has our island desperately needed the rain, it’s been a lovely excuse to remember everything we love about living in 24 feet.
Each Saturday I’ve followed my household routine for Airstream life: washing clothes, planning meals, cleaning house (including Bonnie’s weekly bath!) and paying the bills. In all, it takes about an hour and a half at most, including the wait between loads at the campground laundry. But the satisfaction is enormous. When you’re camping (or glamping, as the case may be), there’s something luxurious—decadent, even—about the quotidian graces of clean sheets and a well-stocked fridge. Planning meals with our Paleo diet in mind has been a challenge at times, but a good one, and I’ve upped my lunch game with leftovers: last night I fixed a fragrant pot of Tom Kha Gai, and the spicy chicken soup with lemongrass and mushrooms made an even better midday repast today. Coupled with a mug of herbal tea and the thunder of an approaching storm, I’m tempted to say it doesn’t get much better.
(Full disclosure: we seriously miss our ham and cheese toasties. There’s really nothing more eagerly anticipated or eminently portable around here than a grilled sandwich and a couple of Co-Colas. But, as both are kind-of totally off-limits, we’re making lemonade. Or chicken soup. Or whatever.)
On Sunday the rain started to spatter in huge, promising splats on the roof of the Airstream, and Philip and I exchanged knowing smiles. We had just finished a nice breakfast of bacon, eggs and summer fruits, and with a full percolator on the stove and an hour or two of glorious captivity in the forecast, we both knew what to do with such largesse. The last four chapters of the last Harry Potter book awaited—and conditions could not be more propitious.
Cuddled under blankets, with cups of hot coffee in hand, we wrapped up what had been a three-year undertaking—for, determined to read them aloud, we’d signed up for a Commitment. Midway through The Order of the Phoenix, however, we’d entrusted ourselves to Jim’s Dale’s incomparable audiobooks, and it was he who carried us over the finish line Sunday with characteristic fervency (and all those accents!!). We realize we’re probably the only people on the planet who didn’t know (until Sunday) how the Harry Potter series ends, but all I can say is that I’m glad, deep in the bones of my soul, to have met this story at this stage of my life, and to have encountered it in this way. The Harry Potter books, building on the sure and early foundation of Lewis, Tolkien and the staggering imagery of George MacDonald, opened my imagination to things that are true about the Kingdom, granting me glimpses of realities I once took for granted–but of which my grief-bruised heart needed reminding. My soul feels larger as a result. Suffice it to say that at the end of the Epilogue I was a sobbing mess.
“I don’t want to read anything else right now,” I whimpered to Philip. “I just want to read Harry Potter all over again!”
And I doubt there’s a finer compliment to a book (or series) than that.
Speaking of all this rain, I asked my engineer husband about the dangers of lightning to our little metal house.
“You realize we’re living in a Faraday cage, right?”
I hadn’t. But evidently this explains the abysmal cell service—not such a terrible thing, except with regards to the faithful and eagerly anticipated updates of my house sitter!
I conducted an accidental test of our Airstream’s electricity-conducting properties yesterday. Standing by the door with my hand on the knob, I was ushering Philip and Bonnie inside from the gathering storm, when a crack of thunder and a flash of light seemed to come, not from without, but within—inside my very arm, and the hand still grasping the door knob.
I yanked my hand away and stared in amazement as the fingers blanched and contracted of their own accord, like a hidden magnet was drawing them together. For the better part of an hour, my arm felt…odd, enervated, fizzy. I took off my rings, but the strange magnetic sensation remained.
“That was like,” I exclaimed to Philip, fumbling for description. “That was like something out of Harry Potter!”
We both laughed, and I think Philip was secretly a little jealous. At least, however, I was not obliged to resort to Skele-Gro.
It’s hard to believe we’re well into the last week of our sojourn by the sea, or that the next time I write here it will be from home, with an update on the garden and news of bluebirds and honeybees.
But it’s been such a golden season here on our island, and I’m more grateful than I can say for the tonic of sunlit marshes and silver beach, the magic of moonlight in live oaks and the hymn of the sea in my ears. When I do go home it will be with a refreshed body and a well-rested mind, which is no slight thing in this madcap world of ours. Seeking (and praying) for ways to carry these gifts back home with me, for the wisdom to build bridges of memory between the peace of this beloved place and the peace of my beloved home.
In these waning days I feel caught between the two, suspended with filament-fine tension between one love and another.
And that makes every moment gleam like a rare jewel.
p.s. Thank you for all the lovely and helpful comments concerning the site redesign/update! I really appreciate it. We’re not quite there yet, but Philip and I have been working behind the scenes, tweaking things, smoothing out wrinkles, and I’m happy about the way it’s developing. It’s my fervent wish to keep this space quiet, uncluttered and warm, and your feedback has been an important part of that. 🙂