I fold it carefully.
It must be just so, or next summer we will pull a tangled mess from the box.
I place it inside, and it’s like putting a tent and its poles back into the stuff sack at the end of a camping trip…the triumphant moment when it all fits, just so.
The writing on the box tells me that I hold in my hands a piece of Mayan culture, that it took 15 days of full-time work to create this hammock, and that I can enjoy it strung between palm trees.
I look at the maples around me, the chicken shit on the porch, and wonder if this is not quite the setting the author had in mind.
We used to have it in our house. In a living room 3000 miles away. The words on the box tell me I can enjoy a “great nap” in this piece of Mayan culture. I think of all the times I lay in it, in that living room 3000 miles away, with my sleeping baby on my chest.
I fast forward to the shit-covered porch: the baby is now grown into a boy of seven. It is summertime, and when he is not swinging and laughing with friends in the hammock’s colorful embrace, he rests quietly in it, on his papa’s chest.
Yes, I think this is exactly what the author had in mind.
I tuck the flaps and place the box reverently on the closet floor. I scrape and sweep the porch, shoo the chickens, and prepare to stack the wood for winter.
*eta: The box actually says Hamaca Maya, but when I take it out each summer, I sing a little song, and it always comes out Hamaca Maca. I don’t know why.