Monday, July 29, 2013

The Greater Seattle-Area Afterlife

Have you ever seen one of those stories where the hero or heroine gets, like, hit by a bus or something, and goes to an ethereal magical neverland, where everything is perfect and pleasant and they could totally stay there forever, if only they didn't have to return to the land of the living and finish the plot?

Well, let me tell you, ladies and gents: that land is real.  It's my aunt and uncle's house here in Everett, Washington.

We always came here in the summers when I was a kid, and this is the first one in a few that I've been able to get back for any length of time.  It always seems to be perfect here: the house is airy and sunny and breezy and cool, with a big deck for barbecueing and a basement full of bikes and canoes and rafts for adventure time, and a couch custom-made for napping.  This is the backyard, if you can believe it.

Yes, that is a deer. 
Yes, those are blueberry bushes.
Yes, you are insanely jealous.

I guess one of the reasons it's such a fun place to be is that when I'm here, my daily grind has been left behind (along with my earthly body, sprawled out in front of that 3:44 cross-town express.)  Right at this exact moment, I'm enjoying a four-day intermission between super-awesome writers' conferences (more on those soon!), and I just can't express how much I've enjoyed floating in this blissful embryonic sac of family and free time.

I do get tangled up in other thoughts sometimes - you know, about how many less fortunate people in the world don't have a place like this, or what's inevitably going to happen to this one as folks get older and things change.  But it's amazing to me how much more revved I feel even after just a day of being here.  Shit I can barely force myself through at home suddenly seems SUPER DOABLE, in a breathless ecstatic "let's get this knocked out and then walk down to the beach and build sand castles and toast hot dogs and skip stones 'til the stars come out!" kind of way.

Obviously it's not so nice all year round.  And of course all the vacation-time vibes would vanish if I ever picked up stakes and moved here.  In a way, this place is too special for me to actually live in it.

But boy, I would be so relentlessly productive if working hard and staying on task meant that I could leave my Texas "office" at 6:00 and have three hours of this every night.

Anyway, so that's my magical happy near-death neverland - what does yours look like?

--Sun is going down. Shall we capture princesses now, Papi?
--No - let's just stay here a little longer, son.
--I love you forever, Papi.


  1. Mine is a beach in Florida. Any beach with shells in the sand and not too many people. The beaches were the best part of the trip I took a few years ago, even though it was too cold to swim.

    Frank the Magnificent

    1. That is so cool, Frankles - it is amazing how delightful a good beach is, even before you ever put a toe in the water! (The only time I ever feel bummed about a beach is when it's all rocks. I do love me a good sand-castle.)

    2. If the beach is all rocks, it depends on where I am. The beaches up north in MN are fantastic for rock hunters like myself who like looking for natural agates.


  2. For me, it's a well stocked house in Colorado in the middle of a snow storm with nowhere to go. I'm glad you're having a good time on your vacation. Can't wait to hear about it.

    1. YES. You got it exactly, Pam. That's actually the reason I kind of love airport lounges: you're past security, in where nobody from the real world can find you or need you, and there's nothing to do but nest in an empty row of seats somewhere and do whatever you feel like as you wait for the Transit Gods to approve your departure.

      Yours sounds way more picturesque, though. It'd make a much better postcard.