5:08 PM, the squashy chairs at Starbucks, Chelan, WA. I’ve sat in every one of them now, buying a watery iced Americano in exchange for a sluggish internet connection. Mostly it’s been handling miscellaneous things - emails, inquiries, follow-ups (texts from mom asking when we can Skype). What it hasn’t been is blogging, which I have to apologize for. Writing is one of the only things keeping me sane, so there’s no reason not to channel it here.
We’re existing in a semi-permanent dream world: living in and around an airplane hangar. The first night - camped on the front lawn in my circa-1960s tent - I was woken up with my books soaked by the rain. I sat up: “come on David, you’re made of stronger stuff than this!” (a phrase I have never heard myself utter before). I made a dash through the rain, only to realize that it was really the sprinkler system. Last night we slept on the hangar floor to stay out of the wind and woke up to little presents from mice in our cereal bowl and on Stephen’s sleeping bag.
We’ve only been here for six days but we forgot to pack an accurate sense of time into our suitcases: it blends together like the sagebrush and dust in these mountains.
I feel lucky and simultaneously unworthy. Last week we watched a team of three sew our wing together over a day, quiet for most of it, running the cameras and reverent towards the craftsmanship. For the past two days we’ve been with Dan, a man who’s closest neighbor is two miles away and who thrives on coffee, nicotine, and the musical stylings of Deadmau5 (not what I expected - I told him so). We’ve been assisting him in building the trike body from the bottom up: we’ll know it intimately when we move the pedal to full throttle for the first time. How many pilots have actually had a hand in building their aircraft?
What’s most disconcerting to me is that this is happening. Disconcerting because I’m not ready for it -- I don’t know when I ever would have been. This is the biggest step we’ve made so far and I’m halfway between sleep and dreaming. I can’t imagine everything will really focus until we’re making the first leg of our trip (Sacramento to Half Moon Bay). I’m watching my dream unfold along with our wing and I don’t feel proud. I feel lucky, and overwhelmingly so.
I can’t believe this is me: standing up in the back of a pickup truck and screaming as it barrels down a mountainside; watching three hang glider pilots soar off a cliff and into evening thermals; waking up besides a roaring river and seeing stars like silver through my hammock’s opening. The amount of change and the pace of that change, since the day I stepped out of Brooklyn, has been delayed in getting to my brain.
I left what I knew in order to affect a change in myself but I’ve seen so much already that I’m scatterbrained. I shudder in the morning cold, hearing gunshots from a firing range and a rooster in the opposite direction. I climb out of a hammock slung between a truck rack and Stephen’s SUV and head into the hangar.
Next week: our adventures in Stehekin: an unincorporated mountain community only accessible by plane or boat, in a nook at the far end of Lake Chelan.