Hammock time

I have wanted a hammock here since we moved. But despite all the lovely, huge trees that beckoned, none offered the proper space, or spot, for relaxing in a hammock.

I finally broke down and bought a hammock frame. I was resisting because my memory of hammock frames was the very tippable rectangular frame my parents had throughout my childhood. It was a series of hollow metal tubes, easy to store, but also easy to tip backwards. Which I did.

As an adult, I had a hammock between two trees and it was far more satisfying. There are few things I like better than looking up through the leaves of a tree. But this property simply couldn’t accommodate that.


The new hammock stand is not an expensive one, but it’s better looking by far. And although it is also a series of tubes, it’s even easier to put together. Two vertical supports slant away from the central base, two long horizontal supports keep the base on the ground. The hammock goes over the top of the verticals and threads onto a hook on the verticals. It’s a little weird, but it works.

We have two hammocks. One is a gorgeous heavy-colored thing that was a gift from my son and my daughter-in-law. It only fits one. Or their two toddlers, when they visit.

The other is a macrame cotton thing that is positively huge, and is surprisingly strong. It tangles easily, but if we’re careful, it’s a thing of beauty and utility.

Into that, KB and I have tumbled, laughing at our clumsiness, then reclining for a lovely spell of cloud watching. Getting out is also an ordeal, but such is life when you’re no longer a kid.

The fact that it can be moved has proven to be a plus. We’ve put it under a pine tree, out in the open, and changed the angle to view a new part of the world above us.

Last night, my liking of that hammock and its stand became love. We spent an hour or more star-gazing. We didn’t see the comet, but we saw shooting stars. We heard the night sounds, the coyotes, the owls, and smelled the garden and the earth, which smell different at night. I only came inside when, even with a jacket, I was cold. If I’d had a blanket, I could have stayed all night.

We have a standing date now, so long as the nights are clear. The night sky is putting on a show and we’ve got a front-row seat.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.