Category Archives: moving

Crazy Making

Garrison Bay 2

Moving is crazy making, especially when we bring it on ourselves. Anyone who knows me or has been reading me, knows how fond I am of Seattle. But in all our excursions to the San Juan Islands, we found something. So I am leaving the city I love for a little home in the woods on a bay. In a perfect world I’d have a pied- à -terre in the city too.

Preparing a home to go on the market, on one hand, and remodeling another house with the other, I lost my stride of a weekly post in blogging. Other bloggers are running circles around me, and because I must jump back in, here it goes:

I have to try this. My romance of living on the water and writing in a hut down by the water’s edge. The wind in the pines and water over rock. The fresh smell of cedar. The smile of a rope hammock hanging between trees. The quietude of kayaks. The grilling of fish, and the taste of the ocean in each raw oyster and boiled crab. Growing our own everything, and what we don’t grow, purchasing from people who do. Adirondack chairs circling a stone fire pit. Watching the fire and watching the stars at night.

This is not going to come by staying put.

It is important to note whether one is moving-towards or moving-away. This is a moving-towards. Only a couple times in my life have I felt the need to move away. Once was from St. Thomas U.S.V.I., and had nothing to do with St. Thomas or The Virgin Islands. The other was from Los Angeles, and had everything to do with LA.

Long ago I set off on a journey with my little neighbor, Tony, into the woods behind our homes. We couldn’t have been more than five or six. I was sure it would lead to somewhere. That we’d come to some place magical like Oz, if we just persevered. Tony, however, turned around and headed home.

This girl kept going. And before long the woods did come out somewhere, but it was just another nice neighborhood in Connecticut. One that looked much like mine, but wasn’t. I was lost. So I did what Dorothy did and knocked on a front door.

It was the age of women at home, and so I was in luck. A kindly lady invited me in, seated me at her kitchen table and fed me milk and cookies. I didn’t notice, but she must have slipped out of the room to call the police and report a lost child. For it wasn’t long before an officer arrived at her house too. How cool was that? I got to come home in a cruiser! 

Look at all Tony missed by turning around.


I recently wrote my daughter:

I am sixty-two years old and live, as you know, on one of the “hills” in Seattle in a lovely little English Tudor home where a chandelier is reflected in a Venetian mirror. And I just bought a waterfront house in the islands that’s a total rehab with a trailer dumped on the lot. And all I want to do is go out there and clear brush! Am I nuts?

And she answered:

The best kind of nuts! You’ve lived in plenty of lovely neighborhoods, but you’ve never lived by the sea on a remotish-island. I am so excited for you.





Filed under moving

Sign of the Whale

bulletin_summer2009-killer-whale1I have a friend with a home in the San Juan Islands that has everything one would want in an island home: simplicity of style, plenty of light, beds, beds, beds. Acreage, a deer-fenced garden, Adirondack chairs upon a porch, a lodge pole pavilion with a wood burning fireplace, sunsets over the water, trees, trees, trees. And a writing hut, for she is a writer. I have never been able to understand why my friend is not out there all the time.

Here we go again, ferrying to the San Juan Islands. This would all be good but the boating is flanked by I 5 freeway driving to and fro Seattle. That’s the part that isn’t right. Otherwise we are talking about what I consider one of the nicest cities in the country and one of the most pastoral and serene of seaside places. “The islands,” as they are locally known. A tough choice.

On our last trip out to the islands a pod of orcas was alongside us like synchronized swimmers, perhaps as many as twenty. The boat was in waters between San Juan Island and Jones Island, not where whales normally pass. In that moment our boat was the only one around, and we were the only people in the world enjoying the magnificent  sighting. A good sign, I know it is. I could feel it.

Maybe we should say we have lived in the city for a number of years, and a change could be good.

One thing is for sure: we know of no other way to find out.


Filed under moving