I was asked by a cruise ship passenger about two weeks ago how they could sign up for a life like mine. I laughed before I answered with the truncated, “Give away your crap. Start with the television. Go from there.” He laughed and nodded.
“I guess it really COULD be that simple, huh,” he responded thoughtfully.
Ultimately, that’s how it all began for me: a simple realization that I hadn’t used nor seen any of my crap for over 3 years between downgrading houses, moving from CA to TX, TX to CA, CA to NY, then deploying with a few duffel bags to Afghanistan.
I woke up last week in the protecting arms of my soulmate. I stretched. He likes it when I do that.
We made love. I like it when we do that.
I walked outside, and sat down on the logs that make up our porch in the warm sun. I noted that for the past three summers I’ve lived across from a beautiful waterfall, and every morning I’ve woken up to the sound of water, the calls of hungry eagles, the screams of seagulls, and the thumping of curious humming birds. I looked out at the tidal flats quickly disappearing beneath the incoming tide, and couldn’t help smiling.
High tide often comes right up to our front door.
We don’t have cable.
We don’t have satellite.
We don’t have video games.
We don’t have flashy rims or Jordans to worry about scuffing or china to worry about dropping.
We don’t have electricity.
We don’t have hot water.
We don’t have plumbing.
What we have is peace, love, happiness, a camp stove, some kerosene lamps, books, creativity, an abundance of natural entertainment at our front door, and a heavenly community 10 miles away.
John posted an ad in the Haines Classifieds requesting kayaks, and in typical Lovely, Trusting Haines fashion, by the end of the week, we had been loaned one indefinitely and had bought another. That morning John Hirsch had even left a message offered us his double to keep at the cabin!
We set out that afternoon by kayak at high tide. We didn’t need a vehicle. We just grabbed our kayaks, skirts, paddles, and walked them to the rising water. We pushed off, and began paddling towards the waterfall. We spent the day tooling around, taking pictures, making jokes, and watching fishermen. I stopped for a while to lean back in my kayak, turn my face towards the sun, and allow the warmth to infiltrate my being.
“We choose to live this way, isn’t it incredible?” I turned to the man of my reality, no longer only the man of my dreams.
He turned towards me and flashed a smile, “Yup!!”
The thought thrills me that we have taken our lives into our own hands in a conscious decision to simplify and enjoy. In our systemic poverty, we’ve found a richness in freedom unparalleled. I chuckled to myself as I thought of the many times I’d been questioned about my choices to remove myself from the rat race; challenged and doubted. Funny thing, I never for a second doubted that I was making the right decisions for my happiness.
“We should practice this more,” I half quipped.
“Yup!” he was laughing now.
We practiced. We kissed. I screamed like a girl a few times, thinking we’d tip.
I think we’ve got it now. At least good enough that I won’t scream before and after the kiss. 😀
A sea lion poked his head from the placid water. I watched him fish for a while, appreciating the moment with nature. I smiled at the Universe and watched John investigating a crab. I sat for a long time unmoving, admiring the shape of his jaw, the strength in his neck, remembering the feeling of his lips on mine.
As we paddled back to the cabin, we recognized John Hirsch on the water with Leslie and Rio, the ladies of his life. We called out to them and met up on the water. He asked us if we had gotten his message about the double kayak he’d left us that morning. We laughed at the irony of having just bought the second single kayak that very morning, about an hour before hearing the message. After a few entertaining stories, he offered, “I just got four fish, let’s celebrate the abundance of the season! Want a fillet?
Of course I responded with an immediately enthusiastic, “HELL YEAH WE DO!!”
John and I began paddling back to the cabin while they started up the zodiak and drove to the ramp where their truck was parked. By the time we had our kayaks on the porch again, Leslie was walking down the boards to the cabin with a bright red sockeye fillet in her hands.
“Got something to put this in?” she called out with a smile while holding the large slab of fish away from her body.
“HELL YEAH!” I brought her a red plastic container.
John Hirsch pulled up a moment later, and we all walked towards the truck. We had a gift for him as well.
As I approached, he said, “Rio’s got something for you, Rita!” and a tiny white fist sprung out from behind his headrest. I offered my open palm, and a beautiful orange rock fell into my hand.
We offered up some gluten free chocolate covered graham crackers, good pakalolo, and ended up taste testing yummy dried pineapple and mango in return.
Everyone was grinning, laughing, and sharing. It was the absolute perfect way to celebrate the abundance of love and blessings in our lives in that moment.
“Well,” he concluded, “It was great to see your hair again! We were admiring it from all the way out THERE!” John Hirsh gestured towards the middle of the inlet.
We all laughed, gave half hugs through the truck windows, and said our goodbyes.
They drove off towards town and we returned to our Heaven, our home, feeling alive and incredibly lucky in our abundance, as those who truly live in each moment tend to do.
It builds love.