That summer slipped into autumn more beautifully than ever before. I know now it was because of what love did to me. Love has a way of opening up our eyes so we suddenly notice the beauty around us. And it has a way of bringing the music back to life where each day becomes a new symphony, just as it should be every day but somehow isn’t. What is it about being in love that filled my head with fluffy soft things, brilliant colour, laughter and joy? Is it really only dopamine, or is there something else that courses through our veins when love arrives? Every day I would find something else I loved about him that would make me soar even higher. I could barely believe the power I felt so easily, so quickly, so completely. I would have laid down my life had he asked.
We were in a tiny town by the name of Zeballos, population about 7 people and four dogs. There was a general store and a bar, slash make-shift hotel, the local policeman and that was about it. I had been invited to go diving with Robert and Yellow Hair, as he fondly called his blonde tender on the boat. We would live in Robert’s fifth wheel complete with all the necessities. He would park the trailer off the main road at a place that at least at one point had been the local campground. The truck rounded the corner and we made our way down a slight hill and came upon an opening. The ground was gravel and was surrounded on two sides by a river that wandered lazily around the campground. There were no other signs of people to be seen, not a telephone pole, speed bump or fire pit. Nothing. For me, it was nirvana in the middle of Nowhere Land.
Robert parked the trailer so we had the best view of the river. He opened up one of the compartments underneath the trailer and pulled out a huge black hose. He took this up river a ways where there was a cascade of water over a small fall. This, he explained later, would serve up fresh cold water whenever we needed it. He opened up the awning, turned on the gas for heat and hot water, set up the lawn chairs and gathered some wood for a fire. By the time I had dinner on the plate it looked as if we’d been there for a month.
The “boys”, yellow hair and the other tender, were set up in a smaller, less prestigious tent trailer. I could hear them whooping and hollering as they wrestled with the camper and started their own campfire. The fresh air and wilderness was already filling them with wild abandon. I too felt a surge of adventure as I remembered other days with him camping and sleeping in the pitch darkness hugged by nature.
It was after dinner when the door to the trailer opened and in popped his head. “Hey, wanna try target practise?” I turned from the kitchen sink with a bit of a frown on my face, my soapy hands rising from the suds in shock at a voice I hadn’t expected.
“Excuse me? You mean with a gun?”
“Ya. We could go over to the gravel pit and shoot a few.”
“Hmm. Shoot a few what?”
“Tin cans! Grab your coat…it’s hunting season and my boots want to march off into the woods.” He grinned.
Half an hour and a sweater, boots and a hat later, we rounded a corner and there it was…the gravel pit, way out in the middle of nowhere.
Today however, Robert was taking the day off, and he was about to show me the fine art of shooting some tin cans. Holed up in the gravel pit just as he had described, he taught me all about the rifle and how to handle it safely. Then he showed me the stance and how to place the butt against my shoulder and how to aim. My first shot sent one of those cans flying with a twang that echoed around the pit.
“WOW. That was pretty good,” he shouted with surprise. I was pretty shocked myself. I took a couple more shots, missed two, and hit one more. “You’ve got a good eye,” he said. My heart always spilled over and I melted easily around him.
When I collected myself again, I noticed there were some crows flying around atop the six hundred foot cliff that surrounded us. I raised the rifle and took a look down the site. Behind me, in no uncertain terms, I heard, “If you shoot it, you eat it.”
As close as we were and regardless of what we shared however, that veil was always there; that wispy, mysterious veil that kept him just a hair away from my reach.
…to be continued
Stormy @ 123rf Stock Photos
All other photos by Faye Thornton – All Rights Reserved