‘…it is rare to find expressed so openly and clearly the desire to remain a child forever, free of adult gravity and responsibility. Where else but in Neverland are there endless possibilities for adventure?‘ – From ‘The Annotated Peter Pan’, W.W. Norton.
We sailed to Neverland. Naturally, there were boys, boys, boys, everywhere I turned. Lost boys, spitting into the wind. Howling with glee. Running in circles, finding rocks, flinging things into the air. Shattering the peace. Slicing waves of reality into the water encircling us.
These roving bands of boys were scouts, off to camp. Primed for adventure, they were setting foot on an island teeming with coves and forests. D. and I were winding down, trying to slow our internal clock, celebrate an anniversary, twenty years and counting of No, I will do it! and Yes, I remember! and Have you got the checkbook, or have I?
Gradually, the further we floated from shore, the more the ferry began to morph into fairytale. Those boys’ endless enthusiasm and careless concern for every-day rules hovered over our heads like pixie dust. It was as if we truly were off to some sort of Neverland. I was Wendy, anxious and on the look-out, not knowing whether to hurry and grow up, or cast my cares into the wind and just be merry once more.
“I’m not that old, am I?” I mused silently, fighting the urge to mother those boys. “No, never! Never, never…that’s why we’re off to Neverland, to feel young and alive and carefree once more…”
We disembarked on Orcas Island and the lost boys disappeared into the trees while D. and I drove along twisting, one-lane roads. At each bend one or the other of us gasped and cried, “There’s a bald eagle! Look at the garden! Those ponies are coming over to greet us! That looks like a gypsy cart there in the trees!” Ahead, cliffs plunged into endless green waters. Behind, mountains rose into swirling mists. Our snapshots needed no improvements, no editing. This new world looked enchanted, and felt that way, too.
Obviously traffic lights don’t exist in Neverland. You may, no must, fly straight on till morning, along with the birds. Eagles, sea gulls, hummingbirds, geese, …birds whose names remain a mystery swooped across every vista, plunging into the sea to dine, as we stared out restaurant windows, dining as well, blinking once, twice….Where are we, again? We crunched along rocky shores, stopping to marvel at huge, shiny, orange and purple starfish. We marched under canopied trails, up, up, up, into the clouds, to the tippy-top of Neverland, away across the sea, for as far as the eye could see.We took off our shoes in Doe Bay, sheltered there in a quaint cove, resplendent in the glittery glow of sunlight. Geese slid towards the Sound while boats bobbed offshore and we stood, mouths agape, eyes wide, childlike in wonder.
We ordered drinks from the cafe’, which were carried out to us at the water’s edge by a hip, young man wearing a beret. Imagine living there and dressing up! We drank in a dazed, delirious fashion, tucked there in that magical place, when a lone boy in a hat began to play the violin across the water, perched at the edge of his kingdom, alone with the sea and the sun, the clouds and the cove. A modern-day Peter Pan moment.That night we dined at The Inn at Ship Bay restaurant, which grows their own produce, herbs, and spices right there at the ocean’s edge. D. had anise-hyssop ice cream and said, “I’ve never tasted anything like this before. It tastes like a summer day.” Out the window eagles swooped towards the sea. Inside we drank wine and dabbed our lips with linen napkins and tried to believe that we were grown up after all.
But then who could control the squeal of delight when they brought us our dessert and it looked like this: D. and I are forty-two years old. Which means the story of him, me, us is half-way over, maybe more….Most days we feel buried in the middle of our own book, bogged down by a crazy cast of characters and chaotic, never-ending plot twists. Yet here, in this place, we’d flown out the window for just a bit. Clutching hands, we’d entered a land where our childlike wonder did still exist. A Neverland – where dreams are born, and time is never planned…- J.M. Barrie, ‘Peter Pan’.