Christine and I went to the Dream Away Lodge for a Home Body show on the Summer Solstice. For those who don’t know, Home Body is an electrophotonic reality distortion engine disguised as a couple. Eric tweaks nipples and knobs while Haley works the lights and vocalizes emotions we don’t have words for yet. They both dance spasmodically, and whatever possesses them unfurls its USB-compatible tentacles into the audience, creating a sea of synesthetic motion, light, and sound. They are one of my favorite bands, and though I’m no longer able to count the number of times I’ve seen them play on both hands, I’m not the kind of fan that keeps track.
My duffle bag was bursting at the seams, stuffed with a tent I purloined from WalMart, an air mattress, and miscellaneous supplies in tow. The plan was to camp out with the Home Body family, which consists of their housemates and assorted associates. Entering the lodge, we squeezed through passages and peoples, tent-in-tow, leaving the weighty home in a bag by the coat rack before moving towards the bar.
The Dream Away Lodge is furnished eclectically. Though no single chair, table, or pillow came from the same place or time, the aesthetic was cohesive and dense with novelty. The establishment has a single cash register, located in a corner of the bar. I watched, horrified, as the bar tender -juggled- struggled taking food orders and drink orders. The feng shui of it seemed off, and it began to dawn on me that this place wasn’t your ordinary tavern.
I watched the Tetris of it all, blocks falling, snagging, clearing, until finally our number was up. The bartenders were both women in their mid twenties, warmly aloof, hair striped here and there with color or lack-there-of. The one who rang us up had a blue stripe from the nape of her neck up into the bundle of locks suspended in a fashionable manner. She apologized for the wait, and we assured her of our implicit patience, forking over crumpled bills Christine found in a dress pocket earlier that day.
Duffle bag in tow, we wandered back outside, passing lit torches, congregations of smokers, and a fire pit with concentric rings of stones worn down into lovely seats by time and the elements. The electronic thrum of Home Body winding up for a set drew us like moths to flame, and we found ourselves in a yard behind the building, which seemed more and more like a house as I noticed Eric Hnatow and Haley Morgan standing on a porch. Dressed in typically atypical garb, nestled into coils of wired and bundles of lighting and sound equipment, they were birds perched in an electronic nest.
They both said hi to me, and the old shy Jason leapt out as I bashfully greeted them back before receding into the crowd. The duffle bag made the perfect couch for Christine and I, so we sat down to enjoy our drinks while the couple onstage set up for what would be one of the best sets I’ve seen. Reality melted away as Christine and I danced. Bits and bobbles of detail about the set, the crowd, the owner making an art form of the announcement, cling unevenly to my memory as shadows playing over her form, her smell, her touch.
After the set, which featured the new album’s darker, more mature songs followed by older, airier material, Christine and I traipsed into the woods, thirsty for adventure and each other. We came upon a labyrinth, and traced it’s path, stopping to admire various plants in the light of a flashlight.
We came upon a bench at the center of the labyrinth. Sitting gingerly at first, we found it was surprisingly sturdy in spite of being formed from fallen branches. We kissed, and talked about us, our future, and the magical place we had found ourselves in. Eventually, we left that hidden place, venturing back to the lodge to socialize with those who remained.
We came to realize that for these people this was a home. The owner lives there and puts up friends from out of town there in a guest house behind the lodge. The Dream Away Lodge isn’t just a tavern out of some fantasy universe where life is better, it is the headquarters for a culture where men and women and otherwise can be comfortable. No one needs to prove anything. If they are there, it’s because they belong.
It was getting colder, and we agreed that it would not be fun to camp there that night. Just as we were leaving, a moth joined us on the porch. It was the size of a bird, and looked like it hatched out of the Moon. After much reveling in it’s beauty, we left tired and content.
And so, walking down an empty road to the car, Christine remarked that if she ever laid down in the middle of a road this would be the road. The gravel pressed firmly into exposed skin as we watched the stars throb behind the stark silhouette of the forest.