Skylar pulls on a boot, “my grandmother buys me a new pair every year.” His undercover smile shines through. His Pendleton belt buckle is keeping his jeans on sparkles. He lives with his mum and her boyfriend in Talent, Oregon. They have two yurts that are joined with wood decks in the trees. They are deep in the woods. I am friends with the organic farmers on the adjacent property. Skylar's mum picks flowers for the farm.
It’s the end of summer. School hasn't started yet. I show up around 2pm, and find Skylar roaming around the yurts by himself. Sometimes he is in the self-made swimming hole or down by the creek. He shows me his room. The walls are dark green and the ceiling is bright yellow, the Oregon Ducks. I know nothing about football. He shows me around the yurts; one is for sleeping and other for cooking and living. The decks are covered with their lives. Skis, snowboards, a yellow canoe, skulls, plants, drift wood, laundry, bikes, a vacuum.
I meet Jango the Husky German Shepard mix, which looks more like a wolf. We walk around the yurt to the dirt bikes on our way down to the creek. Skylar jumps on the bike, makes motor noises. We head past the garden, out into the sun and down to the creek. It’s about 101 degrees. Jango follows. Skylar has grown up in these woods. He walks with ease, though he is getting nervous about the time. He is going to see his dad for the weekend. He needs to take a shower - he keeps telling me.
We say goodbye at the old Westfalia van in front of the yurt. He gives Jango a hug.
Words and photography by Amber McKee.
Grooming by Sara Chestnut-Fry.