April 16, 2020
Twenty-five years ago this month, I was seventeen and would lie on a hammock in our back yard that overlooked the winding road that led to our mailbox. My father always complained about that road because it was asphalt and technically private, so all the neighbors had to agree and contribute money anytime the road needed repairs. It’s a windy road that is shaded by a canopy of non-native eucalyptus trees. I remember seeing those same trees in Austalia with koalas. I saw these same trees in Peru last year up high in the Andes during a medical mission trip. They are non-native to Peru, encouraged by the government in the 1970s as a fast growing cheap source of fuel-wood. Those trees have contributed to the disruption of the water cycle there. In Australia and Peru, I oddly felt at home because I knew those trees despite their invasive nature.
Twenty-five years ago the teenage me was laying on the backyard hammock with one foot slowly pushing off to power the rhythmic motions. I would just quietly watch the windy road below . I loved hammocks as a child. As a mother, a few years ago I had this moment of determination and marched to Home Depot with my skeptcal non-hammock- loving husband. That weekend, I taught my half-grown children how to correctly use one. Seeing them try to sit and subsequently fall onto the ground, dazed and laughing as the hammock continually flipped over was wonderful. Laying correctly on a hammock is an artform that I mastered as a child. When you lay on a hammock you have to move with it, and somewhat let go of control which is difficult for uptight people.