Road trips are a break from lots of things: work, one's own bed, food options that aren't packaged in plasticky foil, comfortable and controllable air temperatures, alone time, distractions, any other pairs of pants besides the most comfortable pair of pants (leopard print leggings are pants) . . .  There's a lot of sitting still while moving very fast, of course, and a lot of dizzy head rush when you finally emerge from the car, blinking, into the white light of an empty town. Or a miraculous vegetable stand in the middle of the New Brunswick wildness. Or the most perfect rock on a perfect beach in Maine. You get to be quiet with a dear friend, staring forward together. To see how your needs for water, caffeine, protein, drugs of various sorts, and pee breaks line up. (They always line up.)

I didn't take many photos. The break from phone time felt good and hard. I should use my real camera sometimes, but it just doesn't fit in my pocket.

This is the Deer Isle Hotel. When we rolled up it was just falling dark, and we'd driven along the ocean, over a narrow causeway of stones, and down a mile or so of bumpy dirt path to get there. We were greeted by the soft-spoken Mainer-accented owner, and he led us down the above path to the sounds of "I Know You Rider," which is one of my FAVORITE Grateful Dead songs. I was gripping my friend Sarah's arm, like "yay yay yay yay yay," in many hyperactive happiness squeezes, when I realized that I knew this singer, from back home! The world shrinks every day. 

The hostel is off the grid, powered by solar that cuts off sharply around 10:30, and the proprietors grow all of their food for the entire year in the garden here. They have no refrigeration, opting instead to eat fresh, ferment, and store root crops in sand. We drank the best coffee, roasted on the island, and slept the best sleep, waking early with the sun. I could go on: composting toilet, hand-forged iron hinges and handles, the happiest chickens I've ever seen, hand-drawn maps of where to go swimming! If you can go there, you should. I was reminded of all the lovely places I've lived and the committed, beautiful, ethically perseverant people I've known. Inspiration's like an energy seed.

Here's Sarah, being cute as a button.

Look at these silly hippie-eared guys.

My favorite band in the world was advertised at the local food co-op, which made me happy and so so sad, since I'd be back home precisely at the time they went on stage.

The real end-goal of the trip, and something I definitely did not photograph enough, was to be in place in Nova Scotia for the wedding of one of my life's best friends. Kira and I shared everything when we were in school. We would go shopping together and buy the same sweater - not two of the same sweater; we'd pool our money and buy ONE sweater - because we could just steal it from one another whenever we wanted. We slept in each other's beds. We went running, ate meals, made plans for weekends together. It was often ridiculous. And then, after school, we spent a long season farming together in the Santa Cruz mountains. She's like a sister to me, and she is just the damn best. 

And incredibly organized. Kira and Jonah's friends had lists when we arrived, work was delegated, things were getting done. Actually things had been very much gotten done, and so we were free to sit around a fire and drink local beer, which was pretty beautiful after 11 hours in the car.

The flowers for the tables had already been arranged, incredibly well, by Jonah's uncle. But it fell to me to make the bridal bouquet. And there were no ingredients. I mean, there we were, on a river bank near the sea in Nova Scotia in early August. There were millions of ingredients, everywhere. But I had to go gather them from the world. Tansy, clover, peony leaf, ferns, blueberries (actually blue blueberries, which were a bit risky ((stains? eek)), Queen Anne's lace, of course, roses, flowering vetch, tiny apples, and some things I stole from the already-made bouquets, like a perfect white nigella and a fading pink-grey cosmos.

It's a crazy-looking bouquet, wild and a little antique like Kira herself. I am really, really proud of it, but I think the feeling is complicated and inflated by lots of other important feelings I'm still figuring out. It's hard to live far from the people you love most. 

 Pay no attention to the skeptical Kira face. Look at this bouquet.
That's probably all I can say about that without being quite weepy. Our way home was long, but then we did this:

And then I got home and my chickens had finally done this:

And then I saw this: 

 Indeed indeed.