We’ve been floating around in the Puget Sound for a few days, tying up at one idyllic island after another. Today we’re at Orcas Island. In a couple days we will move over to San Juan Island. My parents are out boating with us for ten days, and our daughters joined us for the weekend until they flew off on a seaplane to begin getting back to The Bay Area, back to work. The sun was gracious enough to stay out for the days when we were three generations on board one modest boat, so we could sit on deck. Now the four of us are huddled in the cabin, in the rain, reading books.
This was the first time since leaving the mainland we dragged out our laptops and checked in with the world. I wish we hadn’t. Pouring rain might be boring, but knowing the U.S. has sent a flotilla of war vessels to the Persian Gulf has my blood boiling. We have a veteran of WWII on board, and to my mind and his, the U.S. has not involved itself in a war worth fighting since. To me it’s all been the same damn thing since Vietnam. To my dad, since World War II.
Not long ago in downtown Seattle I saw signs carried in a demonstration that caused that déjà vu feeling where the sidewalk beneath starts to melt or break up. Crossing Pike or Pine, I felt as though I had traveled in time. I was sure I had carried these signs before. Startling familiar, the diagonal red, white, and blue, the same graphics of the NO IRAQ WAR signs. For a moment it looked like the same war, the same mistake, was coming around again. Until I got closer. Everything on the sign was identical but the Q had been changed to an N and NO IRAN WAR was the message now. I am going to need one of these signs bad.
Out here it’s the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Over there it’s the Strait of Hormuz.
My dad suggests that I not make too much of it (which no doubt I already have). Try not to worry, these maneuvers happen and sometimes have to be made. It’s a giant game of calling someone’s bluff, I guess. Let’s hope it works. The stakes keep getting higher.
In the meantime the sun has come back out in the Pacific Northwest and the skies are scrubbed to the cleanest, brightest blue possible. The last wisps of fog rise rapidly off evergreen hillsides, the sea glistens deep and black, and bleached white clouds show us the way. We slip into the dingy and are off—leaving our land cares on land. It always works.
We’ll be back, and may celebrate the 4th afterall.