“Please, Picture Me, In the Trees”

(Apparently, I can’t stop naming my posts after Taylor Swift lyrics, and so, I’ll post the lyric video for “seven,” the song this comes from, at the end of the post).

IMGP6957eCAMP_ORKILA_ROAD_ORCASLately, I’ve been dreaming of Orcas. The island, not the whale. And the metaphorical sense of dreaming. Daydreaming. Yearning.

With my whole med school life falling apart, all I want to do is go to the woods. Work on my writing, music, podcasting, work on work (I’m looking for work in the wake of all the school fallout) and have trees and water as solace and spiritual recovery, because nature connection is my spirituality and I feel like starving a little without it.

During the other most traumatic time period in my life (when I was 21-22 and almost homeless in Seattle), I dreamed, in the daydreaming, yearning way, over and over, day after day, of being close to the ocean. When I applied for a job at Camp Orkila, they sent me a postcard with three pictures of the camp, and I kept the postcard under my pillow for good luck because it was everything I wanted and I was almost afraid of how much I wanted it. Until the very last moment, it looked like it wouldn’t work out. And then, it did.

I find myself in a similar situation now, coming through a traumatic period and pining for water and trees, wishing I had a postcard to wish on. For the last several weeks, I just find myself craving a return to Orcas in the wake of this latest life disaster. Back in 2003, it was a great place to go to recover and restore my soul while working, and I’m finding myself needing that again.

And it seems doable, I think. Any work I would or could do right now would be virtual, so as long as I had somewhere to stay with a kitchen, within walking distance to the grocery store (and my definition of walking distance is fairly liberal) and a solid internet connection (virtual work, podcasting, blogging, writing, watching Netflix and The Bachelorette when it comes out, you know, all the essentials).

This is the time of year when people start to leave, and was always my favorite time to be there, fall and winter.

So, I’m going to try to make it happen. My lease is up anyway. And with all the quarantine conditions, there’s absolutely zero benefit to being in a city or paying its high cost of living rent. At least on Orcas, there’d be trees and water and sky and all the things I miss in city life, and have missed much more fiercely ever since I moved closer to downtown, like an ache.

My dream of all dreams would be to somehow find myself at Camp Orkila again, to walk its trails and shoreline, to either find work there this fall/winter, or to rent out one of the cabins there. The Dispensary, my former home that I’ve written about here and here (and a few other posts) back in the day, being the ultimate dream. It’s the cabin in the picture below, and it’s where I spent the winters of 2003-04 and 2004-05, and where I find myself longing to be once again.

IMGP7064eFIRST_CABIN_ORKILA_O

I mean, are people even there in these pandemic times? Do they need any kitchen work (what I used to do when I worked and lived there) or any admin/coordinating/leadership work (what I’ve done more recently)? Or just want to rent to someone who’ll pay rent? I don’t think they usually rent out cabins long-term, but maybe with not a lot else going on, they’d welcome the idea of renting something out for awhile? I don’t know.

A girl can dream, right?

And also, work to make things happen. I’m going to put feelers out to everyone I know on the island, especially those associated with the camp (though it’s been so long that I’m not sure I know many who still work there). It’s so weird, because I know, intellectually, that this would be a long shot, but in some part of my mind this is so going to happen that I’ve started making a packing list, thinking about what I’d put in storage, and what I’d take to the dump, and I have a friend who’d take me up there and also help with the storage and dump and all of it, and would get a nice little Orcas getaway too.

I feel really self-conscious writing this because it feels like it is such a long shot, but I want to be more open about things, especially related to the whole leaving med school life transition I’m trying to regroup from, and this is what I want almost more than anything. It may not happen or be possible, and I have this age-old fear that wanting something too much, and especially saying that I do, will jinx it, so I’m fighting that fear too.

But yeah, that’s where I want to be, at least for this fall and winter while I figure myself out and work on putting the pieces of my life back together. Here are some more pictures of the land and the shoreline I miss:

And here’s the lyric video for “seven,” which this post title comes from.

Happy dreaming to us all!

-April

6 thoughts on ““Please, Picture Me, In the Trees”

  1. I soooo hope this works out! I have such fond memories of visiting you on Orcas and sharing a cabin with you in the summer of 2004. Being nature-starved is so painful. My fingers and toes are crossed for you.

  2. Pingback: The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity | April Julia

  3. Pingback: The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Three: Recovering a Sense of Power | April Julia

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