It was 6 am and i sat in the back yard watching the
sun rise over the garage. The air was filled with the sound of a hundred birds waking up
and greeting the dawn. I could recognize the coos of doves and the cawing of crows, but
there were unfamiliar calls too--perhaps the cardinals I'd seen hopping on the bird feeder
outside the kitchen window the previous day.
It was a symphony to morning--those bird calls, blended with the
faint sound of the water bubbling in a small fountain, the air conditioner in the mobile
home, where some were still sleeping, the braying jackass next door, and if I
istened carefully, the faint snores from the living room of the house.
Between two trees, a hammock swayed lazily, its occupant trying to
catch a few more moments of sleep.
My bottom is damp from the dew on the chair where I am sitting.
Around me are the remnants of last night's revelry--a butt bucket filled with dead
cigarettes, a table laden with creams and lotions which had been liberally applied during
the day, a stack of CDs, percussion instruments, water bottles, the margarita bucket,
pistachio shells on the ground...
There is a vast expanse of lawn dotted with tall trees on which hang
heavy windchimes. A large blue marble sits on a pedastle along the back fence. The deck is
awash in color from a dozen flowering plants I can't identify.
I had fallen asleep before most of the group last night--slumped in
a recliner chair trying to watch a movie. So I have been awake since 5 a.m., at
first sitting the kitchen reading Paul Monette's Last Watch of the Night by the
light of a small counter light, and now, as the sun rises, tapping out this entry, letter
by letter on the keyboard of my palm pilot.
From the kitchen comes the smell of coffee. Someone is awake.
We had a lazy day. Things were winding down, and we were leaving for
our respective homes at different times, so the day was dotted with flurries of tearful
goodbyes. In between times we ate (liberally--there will be no "stasis" this
week, I fear), some played chess, some watched a videotape of Cirque de Soleille, some
(me) snuck off to check e-mail.
Mostly, we sat and talked...on the deck, in the gazebo, in the
living room, over eggs at the kitchen table. Sharing our stories, tales of our jobs and
our families. Photos were passed around; photos were taken.
It's always like this when Internet friends meet for the first time.
You arrive not quite knowing what to expect. You leave with hugs and tears and promises to
check e-mail as soon as you get home.
The Internet has brought so many like-minded people from far and
near together. I've made wonderful friends at gatherings like this...this was another of
these wonderful weekends.
I was one of the last to leave, loaded up with water to drink, a
snack to hold me, and lots of love and camaraderie to bring home with me. I know
that I've made new friends this weekend and that's a very nice way to start a new week.