Right in the middle of our big transition to Hawaii, the old Canon point-and-shoot camera dies. The last photo I take is of the goats in the back of a man named Anthony’s pickup truck on their way to their new 5-acre farmlet in Port Orchard, five miles away.
The photo is blurry and overexposed. My mental image is sharp, though.
The men bring each goat down the trail from the barn separately, starting with Pearl, the smallest.
All the goats look twice as big as they are because of their thick fleece — Anthony thought they were sheep. “Sweet Pearl my Girl,” I say to the nervous, shivering goat. She can hardly take the almonds I offer through the dog crate bars. These goats haven’t left this place for two years.
Anthony and his brother love the farmlet and would like for one of their family members to buy it. Which supercharges the Bearded One and me, even as Pearl calms down considerably when the rest of her herd arrives. The three goats huddle together and listen as we describe the farmlet and neighborhood and give our first sales pitch. It will be on the market in March, we say. I promise to email information and pictures.
After the brothers and the goats leave, the Bearded One and I unanimously cancel our planned shopping trip. He has captured each of the three goats, all wild with two strange men present, then shoved them downhill and helped lift them up into the back of the pickup and into a cage. “We are so easily traumatized,” he jokes as we slump at the kitchen table. “Best not to move around fast or talk too loudly.”
I nod. I want to cry, but cook instead. The goats are really gone! AND Suddenly I am in the surreal land of selling our home.
Will I make a flyer and have to resize old photos, which I barely did without having a nervous breakdown for the Craigslist ad?? The Bearded One cleans the roof.
Finally after dinner, we replay our images of the day for each other, I finally cry, and we recover. But our camera does not. I have to buy a new one. And capture this place in pixels.
Wide-angle, panorama, fish-eye — these are not the same. I research and grow weary and find myself spending hours watching a video of the first house we saw with our on-line Hawaii search, an off-the-grid hippie house in Puna less than a mile from the ocean.
I work hard to orient myself through the video’s lens, just 45 degrees at a time. I watch it over and over. I diagram the house. I stop and study and imagine. Then it’s time to focus back here on the painting and sorting.
The Bearded One is going through old boxes and we laugh at a picture of him in Alaska in the mid 1990s.
There’s even a panorama of his 1974 high school graduating class, a very big picture. I ordered a camera with the panorama feature.
On Sunday night, it snows. And in the morning, as I walk past the hoophouse and compost bin to let the chickens out, I notice a half of grapefruit rind, bright pink on top of the goat hay and potato straw and white snow. A bright Hawaiian sun.
I let the chickens out, then walk the tractor trail back to the house, stopping to admire the absolute utter perfection of snow falling on cedars. The silence. Everything all around me, 360 degrees, is fresh and new and magical. The surprising gift of snow, and of leaving.