N and I work on the principle of the exchange system: roll out of the tempurpedic and do what The Man says, come home, squeeze in a run or bike ride, pay the damn bills and do the same thing over again and again and again so that later, we can go play. When we pass each other in the hallway on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, or really, any work day morning, we shout, “Exchange System!” and pack our lunch and head out to grade our papers and permit our forests.
And every once in a while, all that exchanging pays huge dividends:
Let yourself drift back to your most peaceful vacation–remember that time on Ios when your biggest decision was whether to sunbathe poolside or beachside? Falafel or Greek salad? Yes, well, this was that: unfettered bliss, punctuated by afternoon winds, snow-capped mountains, glassy waters and daily naps.
We donned our packs and hiked the trail down to Ross Lake Dam.
And marveled at the fact that we could walk across the dam itself and encounter vertigo as we stared down into its gap.
Back on the single-track trail and another mile brought us to Ross Lake Resort, a series of floating cabins where hostas, clematis and potato vines grow in pots and grace doorways and a tandem kayak waited patiently for our arrival.
We dropped our packs and loaded our gear into our eddyline–our new-favorite too-expensive-toy.
We camped along the lake.
and spent mornings rowing into channels capped by waterfalls
The stags were almost too friendly
and the water so clear it beckoned us in
After naps we hoofed it along the lake, stopping at beaches and snacking from our makeshift daypack/sarong/fanny pack.
It is a place of zenmagicpeace.
Countless hours were spent throwing stones at stumps, naming shapes in clouds and finding running legs in roots.
It was all we could do to row ourselves back to the resort. Because really, how could we possibly leave this?
And so, we lollygagged our way south, splashing each other with water and lounging in our kayak and remembering that these are the days we live for.