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Mornings in Vannigan

A reflection on platonic intimacy and tender mornings in the van.

By Taylor NealPublished 12 months ago 2 min read
Top Story - March 2024

Sproat Lake - August 26, 2021 

My favourite times are the quiet mornings, before she is awake, when the van is still cozy with the lingering warmth of body heat and slumber. I slowly come away from dreamland, back into consciousness, back into my body, and remember the magic of falling asleep surrounded by beauty the night before. My body floods with gratitude for our safety and the cozy bed in which I have awakened, and I spend a suspended moment in stillness, in this moment before I admit to, and act upon, being fully awake. 

I crawl quietly out from under our giant knitted blanket in a practiced choreography that hopes to create the least amount of disruption possible, creak the side door open just a crack, enough to fit my body through - keeping warm air sacred inside - and feel the morning dew on my feet as I relieve my bladder, taking in the beautiful land around us that has been our host for the past star-lit night. Deep belly breaths of fresh, crisp air, the sun’s morning stretches of light trickling through their own giant knitted blankets of cloud. I turn my face to the sky.

I tip-toe back inside and retrieve our two-burner from its place above the butterflies. Each movement creating sound waves greater than the silence at dawn, each performed with intention and care. The pot, in the sink from last night’s tea water, is filled from our small, but sufficient, water supply. Filled carefully, intentionally, with the exact amount of water for two cups of coffee. Not wanting to waste any. Staying close by, quietly listening as the water comes to a boil, listening for the change in the bubbles so it doesn’t boil too long - propane to fuel this morning gift is in minimal supply these days on the island.

Quiet, except for the gentle bubbling of the water and the soft breathing of the sleeping woman beside me, I pour fresh grinds into our French press and sit in stillness. I close my eyes. I wait.

Slowly, the sound from the pot quickens and changes, and I turn the propane off. Removing the lid from the pot sends the water’s steamy breath out into the space, and for a moment I welcome the heat on my face. I pour hot water over dry coffee, fill the glass to the top, cover it. Sacred creation of heat.

Retrieving our mugs from their hooks over the sink, I fill the bottom of each with creamy oat milk from our cooler, and again, I wait.

A few meditative minutes pass untimed, until I feel she’s steeped and rich, the abundance of flavours from this particular local blend we found on the last island soaked, brought to life and savoured by the boil, until the aroma of an earthy dark roast begins to seep through the nozzle, and then I press down. I creek the van’s side door open once again, offering the first sip of this frothy black potion first to the earth we have slept on - an indigenous tradition offered in the writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer - and then I pour two steaming cups of coffee.

I crawl back into bed, back under the big yellow blanket, tuck my chilly toes under Emma’s still warm body, and sip quietly as I read about love. Emma’s eyes gently flicker open, she smiles up at me.

- Mornings in Vannigan


About the Creator

Taylor Neal

A multi-disciplinary artist, writer and sex worker's advocacy support worker, Taylor's cumulative practice comes together as a holistic exploration of identity, sexuality, and how the embodied subject navigates space and the natural world.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

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    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (8)

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  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Newly subscribed; I always wanted to do this. Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • mitchell maurice2 months ago

    As a recently released game, has new features that you have never seen in any other racing game. So do you know what those features are? Let's learn about it now.

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Leslie Writes2 months ago

    Lovely descriptions. I felt like I was there!

  • Alyssa Nicole2 months ago

    This is such a wonderful snapshot of a beautiful morning. Congrats on the Top Story!

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    Oh wow, this is just lovely. I guess now I will be giving some of my coffee back to Mother Earth also (love that). Sounds like a relaxing, nature filled, cozy time creating wonderful memories. Congrats on TS.

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    I appreciate being given a front row seat. Life in Vannigan reads like a lovely lazy exploration of the quiet joyful moments that are all too rare. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    I loved reading the description of your morning, out of your camper. It was sensual and gentle and earthy.

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