Monday, December 27, 2010
“I’ve missed you, Dead Man’s Curve!” Honk, Honk, HOOOOOOOOONK. “YEEAAAHHHH Sundown Falls,” we shout as we whip around sharp curves along the Kern Canyon. I’m sure all other drivers think we’re smoking crack, which makes us yell louder and honk longer. We drive to the guide house first, a flop house where most guides hang their hats (and kayaks) for the summer. Finding only empty PBR cans and random pieces of clothing strewn about, we peel out to look for friends at a notorious hangout, our boathouse. We pull up as two friends sand brand new, wooden boxes for our overnight camp while several others stand around in board shorts, drinking Busch Light. “Welcome home,” I say to myself, face beaming. We knock back a few stouts at the Kern River Brewing Company, my summertime home away from tree-home and I’m thrilled because tomorrow I get to move in!
A staircase leads to a room 12 feet above the ground, with skylights, tree branches shooting through the floor and ceiling, a balcony with a sliding glass door, wi-fi, electricity and many, many spider webs. My immediate reaction to having spiders as roommates is unnerving, but realizing that it’s bad karma and downright rude to destroy every home they’ve built over the years, I spend a good fifteen minutes deliberating which webs to leave intact. One that’s stretched perfectly in the crux of branches near the ceiling, two cozily tucked between rafters and The Plaza of spider webs are the chosen few. “Time to shack-up, dudes,” I whisper.
I hang lamps from the backpack suspended between tree limbs, arrange my books and clothes, makeshift a desk from a sawhorse and sweep my balcony, all the while singing along to Patty Griffin and Imogen Heap. My landlords, Emma, age 12 and Megan, age 10, have already done some sweeping and de-cluttering to make my transition from convertible to treehouse flawless. They continue to help throughout the day by fetching extension cords, sweeping small piles of dirt but most importantly, keeping me company in my new home. At the end of the day I say goodnight to the girls, pour a glass of wine from a glorious $6 bottle, lay back on my air mattress and admire my cozy home, spiders and all.