Chapter 3: Life Continues
Copyright© 2015 by Jake Rivers
Summer passed, although that is a bit of a misnomer. It's more like a dry season and a rainy season, even though the "rainy" isn't bad; it is after all, still paradise. My one-year commitment was coming to an end so I had to decide what to do, to stay in Hawaii or not. There was this fantasy I had, I'd be sitting while sipping on well-aged single malt and watching the ebb and flow of life marching resolutely up and down the beach.
I'd see a person, ambling slowly along as people tend to do on the beach. My eyes would pick out in the gathering gloom a woman, looking familiar. Closer she would come; bending over to look at a shell, maybe wading in the water as one of the waves gave up its life to tickle the toes of a pretty woman. At that point I would realize she was quite pretty and ... and my heart would flutter as she tossed her hair and started walking over to me. But always it was what it was, a fantasy leaving a sour taste. Each time this happened I would go inside and try to find something to distract me.
In the end I realized there was no chance of a fairy tale reappearance of Angie. I called my boss and told him I needed to take a few months off before my next assignment. He understood, probably thinking I still hadn't got over Martha.
Packing what little I had and sent in a final report to Tim, my manager. I called him just before I left to see if he had any final questions. "Tim, I'll be up at my cabin, no phone or mail, as you remember. If you need to get hold of me, send a letter to General Deliver in Payson."
Two days later I was back at my cabin. It was a nice place, not large but a well-made log cabin. The front half was a kitchen with running water thanks to a nicely engineered mix of a spring, pipes, storage tank. The house was on the side of a slope with a place to park on a flat in front of, and slightly below the cabin. My great-grandfather built the house, his son did the piping, but the water just drained down the side of the hill.
My dad had done some extensive remodeling, paneling the inside and putting on a new copper roof. I had added a tank next to the parking area and reworked the pipes to drain into the tank. When needed a truck would come in and drain the waste water. There had been an outhouse for many years, rebuilt every so often as needed. The other thing I had done was install a drum privy. It's like an outhouse but comes with a removable fiberglass storage tank. The entire setup comes as a unit and the removable tank is on a small trailer so it can be towed out.
Once a year or so I would haul it to the dealer and I just had to unhook the trailer and hook up to one with an empty tank. It wasn't cheap but it sure was convenient. This was suggested to be by a forest service buddy who said they most use them in remote spots. They can even be helicoptered in and out.
I took a few days to clean up and lay about enjoying the beauty of the forest. I found I had changed and was no longer interested in hunting, except once in a while when I hadn't had a chance to get into town and buy meat. I started on long hikes, once or twice staying overnight so I could try more trails. Climbing up and down the Mogollon Rim I quickly got in shape. It hadn't come to me that I'd gained a couple inches on my waist to go with about twelve more pounds. With the hikes and general maintenance, chopping wood for my fires (didn't want to fool around with propane) and clearing brush to lessen any fire danger I was back the weight I'd started the Army at and seemed to be getting a stringy, wiry body.
It was lonely, have to admit that. But it was so beautiful and serene I seemed about as happy as I was ever going to get. The agreement with Tim had been for six months but after three I started feeling antsy. A few days after I realized this I was in Payson stocking the larder and found a letter from my boss.