We took over an island.

Terri wanted to do a solo camping expedition, but that is scary as fuck. We went together, took a hike in a big local park, and found a spot where we were comfortable. Not a sanctioned campsite.

We set up the tent and the tarp and the clothesline and the food station. We found a little valley on a small island with few entry points, where the park officials wouldn’t be able to see us by boat or from any paths.  We scouted the area and kept track of the people and their distance from us.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

We had sharp sticks and jagged rocks.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

We swam and relaxed and made sure that anyone who came across our tent didn’t think it belonged to us. We did rather they believed men were camping there.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

We cooked salmon and ate salad and ate the bread that Omar forgot in my car and every bite was nourishing our bodies and our souls in a way that gets lost in the comfort of a home kitchen.

We pulled our food up into the air to deter bears and raccoon as the sun started it’s decent in the sky. We alternated between two spots on the island, to get the best views of the sun setting. We ran through the woods with glee, Smashing Rocks in-hand, bounding over rocks and roots and landing in the soft bed of pine needles. We collected rocks and dry sticks to fuel our need for s’mores in the darkness.

golden bandAs we sat on the flat-rocks, watching the golden band of sunshine set the trees on fire,the fish jumped out of the water and twirled in the air before landing on their flanks. A beaver made it’s round of the inlet. A family of geese ate the aquatic plants and some crested ducks found a place to settle for the night. A bird started to yell at us from the other side of the water. But it wasn’t just a bird. It was also a person. We imagined what this bird-person must look like and started to call back to it in our best approximation if it’s language. It became excited and if we didn’t answer back it seemed to come to a frenzy. We laughed and laughed.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

As darkness fell, we built a small fire. We intermittently heard the sounds of motors and pretended to be brave. Later, realizing the sounds were of planes in the distance, we admitted that neither of us was really  brave at all. That’s when Tomas arrived.

Tomas was wandering below our suspended food bags. Terri flashed a headlamp in their direction. Tomas was adorable and curious, but wild and unpredictable. Tomas is a creature of the night, and surely wondered who we were and why we were in their space. Terri wanted to let Tomas investigate us, but I was worried about some possible backlash. Terri urged Tomas away as I tended to our little flames, but Tomas was not deterred and snuck up behind me, masked face and pointed nose peeking our from behind a nearby tree. I wanted us to keep to our personal bubbles. I’m sure Tomas stayed nearby, but was out of sight for the remainder of our stay.

We roasted our marshmallows and got into sticky messes and talked about crushes and loves and bodies and traumas. We spoke our truths.

The fire went out and we got into the tent. We immediately heard Tomas investigating the spaces we had recently occupied. In the morning, we saw that Tomas was interested in our insect repellent.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

Terri made french toast and I made coffee. We shared our meal with a red mouse named Simone.  We surveyed the land on which we were temporarily residing and started again to keep track of other humans in our vicinity. We packed up our gear and relaxed on the flat rocks again, greeting the goose family and a Great Heron and the leaping fish. We left that island with no trace of us other than a few ashes from long-fallen branches.

We succeeded.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

 

 

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