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Wonder Sweetie and I went to the Out and About Treesort over the labor day holiday. This is a seriously great place to get away from it all because even before you see the Neverland mural on the wall of the stage/craft area you already feel like one of Peter Pan’s lost boys.

Our arrival was heralded with a chorus of squeaking. Something both Marc and I attributed to the Prius having suddenly lost some essential part that kept the tires from falling off or the bumper from wiggling. Wrongly, as it turned out. It was the sound of people bounding across the gangways that were suspended between the trees at the Treesort. Pure undimmed joy. We had an open invitation to be kids.

This is a long drive to the wilds of Southern Oregon. Once you get there it is totally worth it There is a fire pit, a creek that fills a sunny pool for wading or dipping or soaking. Horses, zip lining and characters galore. LOTS of characters. I think it’s safe to say that some of these characters have had more than a passing acquaintance with a certain herbal remedy, but more on that later.

We ventured out early Saturday morning to Jedediah Smith state park to find us some redwood trees. I don’t think I have words to describe the feeling while communing with a cathedral of giant trees. They have been around for a really long time and to use a cliche, they make you feel really small, in a good way.

That night we went to dinner at a sushi and barbecue restaurant. Seriously, only in Oregon right? We went for the sushi and found ourselves in an alternate universe. The universe of the cash only, herbal crop supported world. Duh duh dunnnnn. We were in pot farmer country!

Things that seemed a little off at first suddenly made sense. That skunky smell everywhere after dark. The number of people who paid cash for everything. The road that had EXTRA high fences as we went by. You know what? Live and let live.

Over that weekend I slept 12 hours straight after I had a celebratory birthday margarita. We explored the Oregon Caves monument, saw Ashland (first time since high school for me) and just hung out.

The best memory I have is of a stop we made to a river access point on the Smith river. It was warm and beautiful and we sat on the bank and soaked up the sun till the weariness of the weeks of work melted off of our shoulders and the river carried it away.

Thankfully one of my memories that was not made was of me trying to zip line. The ghost of my trip to the water slides still haunts.

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I’m always surprised by the things I feel when I’ve had some downtime. A 4 day weekend in Southern Oregon followed by another on Salt Spring. I’ll need to make an entry regarding the Treesort but for now I’ll write about Salt Spring.

I love this place for its wildness and for the freeness I feel there. I have heard people talk about the wonder of time away with family in remote places on lakes and in the snow. I made my own time away with my two ducklings. But it wasn’t the same. I couldn’t relax because the places were new and unknown quantities kept me on my toes while I charted the course for the three of us.

Salt Spring is different. First Wonder Sweetie and I discovered much of the pleasures there together. It’s been a shared charting of courses which has been a delight. The last trip I felt like I was coming home. Even though it was without Marc, I still had a sense of homecoming.

My dear friend who owns the cabin on Salt Spring gave me the whole downstairs studio. The bath is a little less rustic than the love shack across the way. The bed is not an air mattress We chose our food from the roadside vegetable stands and cooked simply. Mostly we hiked and talked and slept. Also waded into Stowell lake in the 75 degree weather. Heaven on earth. We saw woodpeckers up close. Were careful not to smush the frogs that hopped at the water’s edge. Walked and drove by many deer that casually ignored us.

The last night before I left we walked to the pond and sat for two hours or more while the sun disappeared and the night took over. The stars came out in slow motion and circled the sky above us. A barred owl hooted loudly over head and flew from tree to tree in search of what, only it knew. The bats performed their acrobatic flights for food and a tiny deer came to the waters edge and lapped quietly.

The last thing we saw before heading in was pure Salt Spring magic dust. A shooting star that glowed like a comet before winking out. My trip would begin back to real life the next day.