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  • Writer's pictureJacob Skorka

I Have an Island

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

Here, have a beer and enjoy a glimpse into my soul.

I have an island. It's not a terribly big island, maybe 5 square miles. It's not a square, though. It's more of a traditional island shape. There are not a ton of people on my island. I would say there are no more than 500 people at any given time, but the actual population is only 100. Anybody is invited, and the citizens of my island are welcome to bring their friends for a few days, but stays are limited. Invitation-only to become a citizen. The climate is nice on the beach, but there is a mountain in the center. On the beach portion of my island, it is a comfortable 77 degrees 100% of the time. There is a 3-5 mph breeze pushing sporadic clouds across the sky for viewership and imagination only, not precipitation. The water is a teal/teal-blue color with no creatures with teeth living in it. Floating hammocks and covered beds are available to relax and gaze at the clouds, any thought of a beverage or meal is enough to make it appear. You'll meet some birds, you'll meet some people, you'll be able to decompress on the beach and swim in 80-degree tropical water - but only if you leave me alone while you do it. On any given day you can find a plethora of penguins swimming in the water right off the coast of my island because they are fresh off the ski hill on the mountain in the center of my island. You, too, can be underwater with the penguins if you take the run down to the Tubie. Tubie is a whole-ass ski lift that is a quarter-mile off the coast and 50 feet below the surface of the water with 4 ski runs that funnel down to it. Whether you make it down to Tubie or not, you're guaranteed to be skiing and snowboarding alongside penguins zooming down on their bellies. The weather on the 12,000-foot peak of the mountain is always 20 degrees, sunny, and there is never less than 4 inches of fresh powder to cut through. Keep your tips up. It doesn't get warmer the lower you get on the mountain. The whole mountain is climate-controlled. The beach weather doesn't affect the mountain weather and the mountain weather doesn't affect the beach weather. They're married to each other and epitomize compromise and staying on their side of the bed. If you're lucky, one of my penguins will jump into your hammock and look at the clouds with you.

On my island, there is a box. It's a pretty big box. This box is about the size of a 2003 Toyota 4Runner. It's a heavy, sturdy, immovable box that is located at the very center point of the island. It's made of extremely hard wood, like Australian Buloke, and the corners are held together with steel. Everybody who lives on the island knows where it is and what it looks like, and it can be seen by anybody who visits. Opening the damn thing is a completely different story. You see, I have a key to the box, but the key is one of the tattoos on my wrist. In order to open the box at the center of my island, you must first find the code to the combination lock on the exterior. Once you find that code and open the top of the box, you'll have to solve a puzzle to open the 4 sides of the box, revealing the keyhole. The only way for you to get the key is for me to trust you enough to give it to you. I don't know where the code is, I don't know the answer to the puzzle, and I don't need to insert the key because the box just opens as I walk towards it. If you do end up getting the key, you will always have access to opening the box. May the odds be ever in your favor.

On my island, there is one specific animal that is unique and sticks out from the rest. Of course, there are traditional beach creatures like birds {not the annoying species of birds} and there are traditional mountain-dwelling animals like squirrels, deer, lynxes, and mountain birds, but this specific animal seems like it doesn't belong. It looks like a black panther/jaguar hybrid cat. It is big, athletic, and strong. It's magnificent to look at and more beautiful than any other large cat that I have ever seen. It has hazel-yellow eyes that oftentimes look angry. It patrols the entire island and keeps to itself. It doesn't like to be bothered, but it will never intrude on anything else on the island. It and I have a mutual respect - a respect where I don't get too close to it, and it doesn't get too close to me. When I see it, I wave, and when it sees me, it bows. Interactions are few and far between, but I know it is always there, and it knows I am as well. Something tells me that it protects me. I think it stays in the background but is never too far away, and I share a similar posture towards it. A beautiful, unspoken dichotomy.

On my island, there is a ladder. The ladder is very, very tall. If I lay the ladder down it would span from one side of the island to the other. Sometimes, instead of taking a lift to the top of the mountain, I lean the ladder up against it and walk. It's a relatively strong ladder, made mostly of aluminum and built to last. However, there are a few rungs here and there that just didn't last and have been patched with wood. Those rungs are easy to see, and therefore easy to avoid while using the ladder. If push comes to shove, they are certainly strong enough to use while climbing up. I wouldn't suggest stopping on one of them, but you can feel safe stepping on one. This ladder seems to be growing every few months or so. It seems to be getting longer but I don't know if I trust using the newest parts of the ladder. Sure, they're made of aluminum, and I have no reason not to use them, but I'm not totally convinced yet. You're more than welcome to use my ladder whenever you need it.

On my island, there was a storm. It was a weird combination of a tropical, almost hurricane-type storm that blew the snow into a tornado and caused an avalanche that ended in the water. The beach was completely covered in snow and the peak of the mountain had a foot of beach sand on it. I guess, in a way, it turned my island upside down. The storm lasted about 3 days, and, when it finally passed, everything was backward. It was tough to see. In response, everyone who was visiting had to go home and the people who lived there felt the need to go back to where they came from. Knowing it was my island, a lot of people offered help to rebuild what was destroyed, but to no avail. I couldn't tell you why, but it felt like the storm was my fault, so I took it upon myself to rebuild. I put my head down and started shoveling snow -- and dirt. When I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, about a year later, I finally looked up. When I did, I saw everybody who I thought left when the storm happened. They were all there, just chillin', watching me work, ready to drink a beer with me when I was done. When they said I was done, not when I thought I was done. Turns out, a beer is just what I needed.



You have an island too, and I would love to hear about it one day.

You have an island.

You have a box on your island.

There is one unique animal on your island.

There is a ladder on your island.

There is a storm that hit your island.

If you want to ask your friends about their islands, then reach out to me and I'll tell you the secret.

Australian Buloke is known as the hardest wood species on earth.

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