The weekend was offset by soul shaking wind, freezing water, and brisk morning air. The weather made many of our plans impossible, andante in fact we were often confined to our little room in the back of the cottage. When I say "we" I mean Sarah and I, for it was Sarah that I lured down to the cottage and to Chickahominy under the pretense of warmth and photoshoots...oops.
We sat huddled in blankets in the far back room making videos and paying cards, reading and napping, eating and laughing, when we did venture out it was only to eat or to wander into town, where the store I had been so excited to show Sarah had shut dow, and where we saw frightening stuffed animals made from sheep's wool, and where we chatted with a woman about her goats. Back at the cottage we did go out on some photoshoots where we trundled through fields and stood in a bundle of poison ivy vines (on accident).
At one point we made our way over to the Chickahominy house where I led us on a hunt for barns and adventure, but came up short in practically every one. I led us to a little clearing in the woods where the same deer bones I found last year still lay scattered about the earth. We went back to the house to get a trash bag, and then went back to the bones to collect them for future prop use/decoration. I the house itself we wandered about the attic and sat on the bed as I tested out my new film camera, and when we finished we tried to saunter casually back downstairs, but instead ended up running frantically from a godzilla bee in the attic hallway.
Many of the meals we had were poor, but I think in retrospect they were probably very good for where we were. The best food we had was at a little French restaurant, but the service was so slow that even they felt bad and gave us free desert.
The weekend was three days of restlessness, of drowsiness, of quiet, of laughter, of awkwardness, of failures, of successes, of documentation. Thus, it ended appropriately on our final night there with the release of flying lanterns. Throughtout the entire trip we had been worried about the wind and if it would ever slow, but in our final night there as we made out way back from our horrible dinner, the trees and the leaves which had been blusteringly disturbed all weekend were finally at ease. We crossed our fingers then in hopes that the windless night would persist until we could get the lanterns, and I sat tense in trepidation for the rest of the car ride. We waited for a Few minutes at the cottage for it to be dark enough, and then at 8:30 all five of us (my parents, my dog, Sarah, and I) piled into the car and drove over to Chickahominy. While there was no overpowering wind there was a brisk breeze that soon became our greatest foe. We stood at the very end of the dock, our hair billowing (except for my bald father), my dog farting, the stars shining brilliantly above us. My dad swore loudly as match after match failed to light the lanterns and sputtered out in the breeze, and my mother tried to calm him as match after match wax thrown angrily over his shoulder into the black water. Finally though one lantern remained lit and I waited impatiently with my camera at the ready for it to fill with hot air. Sarah stood at the very edge of the dock, her toes almost hanging over the edge, holding the lantern tentatively as it swelled. When the lantern was finally ready we counted down to one, and then Sarah rose her arms in the air slowly and let it go free. Because of the wind the lantern did not drift elegantly away over the water as I had hoped, but instead went further and higher into the air until it was suddenly behind us. However, this too was beautiful, as the little carcasses of light sailed away from us into the heavens, like another star in the sky. You stand gazing in awe at your light drift away from you, until suddenly your breath catches in your throat as the breeze blows the fire out and, and then in the far distance the new star fall to earth. We continued to battle the breeze and released many more, all with the same awe inspiring effect. Sarah however was the only successful lantern freer, as both of the ones I tried to release fell pitifully into the water. The night was jumbled with hashed swears, water crashing against the seawall, shouts, laughter, cheers, lights, and darkness...but I think that is what made it wonderful.
Relaxing in our little room, hiding from the wind
Some old barns that we explored
In one of the light filled bedrooms at Chickahominy
Little did we know that we were leaning against vines of poison ivy
Setting the lanterns free