My hammock smells like an old musty sail. Everything is thick and sticky this time of day, this time of year, as clouds churn and work themselves into sweaty storms. As humans push against the heavy heat to “get it all done” before the sky dumps. Thunder rolls and lets us know how close we are to quitting time.
I’ve finally laid down to read my book, slung between a tropical almond and a sea grape tree. Wavelets lap land. Reversed roles, where water does the slurping.
But it’s Saturday in a beach town, so the bar on the cliff plays faint, thumping house music for it’s straggle of day-sippers. And the occasional big-rigs roar their hefty engines, released from city streets to strut their stuff on the scenic shore.
Yet I am blissed. Summer is still, and work is slow, and I’ve finally caught up enough with “fixing shit” (a pervasive island pastime), that nothing seems more pressing today than reading my book in my hammock under the calm, dim, stalling sky.
I dive back into the story, a World War two era fiction set in New York City. The global conflict feels familiar. I sigh at the weight of this pandemic, all the opinions, our failing test of human cohesion.
I tear through the first few sentences, planning to put some miles under my bookmark. But I feel suddenly stressed, attacking leisure with the same efficient ferocity I attack projects. Always intent on finishing so I can…relax. So I can do just this, ironically.
I set the book down, look at the ocean, breathe, catch and reel myself in. Why would I tear through this moment, this book which I could slow and savor across many hammock sessions? Why would I rush a massage? Or wolf a meal? Habit mostly. Frenzy, momentum. And in stillness the frenzy intensifies.
For a minute. Until I sink. Until I swing, and settle. And open my book again. And linger lazily on each luxurious word.