Tag Archives: Friday Harbor

The Ocean is Rising and So Are We

 

BY KIMBERLY MAYER

I don’t need to tell you how many people turned out in pouring rain for The March for Science, April 22nd in Washington DC. And for The Climate March one week later, with over 200,000 participants, along with tens of thousands in 370 sister marches throughout the country.

Marches are happening with increasing frequency everywhere. It’s getting so you can’t sit them out.

We were in DC for The March for Science, and home on San Juan Island for The Climate March. From one Washington to another.

Azalea blossoms were out in full force in DC, as cherry blossoms lingered. In the islands, Orca whales are in migration, following the salmon who are returning to the rivers where they were born. And hummingbirds returning from their vast migration to our feeders.

Nature needs to know we are with her, that we have her back.

On Saturday April 29th we gathered at noon in the upper parking lot of the courthouse in Friday Harbor. Liquid sunshine then too. Bearing hand-painted signs, wearing handmade costumes, pushing babies in strollers, and toting dogs on leash. One person wore a teepee construction around him. Essentially it was a microcosm of all we had seen, and all the camaraderie we had experienced in DC the week before. One country, coast to coast. Or so it seems.

If there is one good thing to come out of oppressive regimes, it is this: The Resistance.

Who are they, in fact, who do sit this out?

In the run up to the election, I had wanted to write an open letter to my Republican relatives, as well as a few friends I’ve probably lost by now. But I must have mulled over it too much, for I never did. Now of course I wish I had. I would like to hear from you.

Tell me, what did you not see coming with Trump? What were you thinking?

 

 

 

 

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One Million Mary Oliver Moments

Fiday Harbor Marina

Two postcards arrived in the mail this week that turned me around and blew me away. One, a black & white notification for renewal of our post office box. And the other, an illustrated reminder of the San Juan Artists’ Studio Tour, coming up June 6 & 7, an event we attended last year. Can it be we will have been here a year?

What started as a spontaneous decision, i.e. “Let’s move to the islands!” has taken a year to implement.

Our daughters are the adults now. They are working and commuting and making plans for the future. They are growing their careers, while we are growing spring salad greens and arugula. These are their globe-trotting days, while we are walking everywhere. Indeed, my husband is a trekker.

Now we are the ones mucking around in the waters and digging in the sand. Assembling Adirondack chairs like so many tinker toys, and building bonfires as if we were at camp. Taking all our cues from nature.

Talking to the attentive deer of the forest, assuring them they are safe. Going ecstatic over waterfowl. Gray  herons, gulls at play, soaring eagles. The slow turning of the seasons, the eruption of spring. The racket of crickets in tall grasses and frogs mating in marshes. The fox who congregate on the beach to yip at full moons, we are listening to you all. We see the sun come up each morning and wake each other if it’s particularly beautiful, and watch it set.

Standing Heron

One million Mary Oliver moments in each day, that is why I live here.

“Life doesn’t go in a straight line, it goes in a circle,” notes my father at 91 years of age.

Full circle is what I feel when the ferry arrives in port in Friday Harbor. Walk-on passengers move to the bow of the boat with their bags, bikes and children. Cars follow at a distance, driving at a pedestrian pace, climbing the shining village on the hill.

Refugees from the mainland.

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Window Licking

 

TartThe French have a name for it, that is, for window shopping in pastry shops: Léche-vitrines, translation: “window licking.” Well, if I left my imprint on store front windows in Paris, they certainly made their imprint on me. For, ever since we returned home I have never stopped thinking about tarts.

We are boating now in British Columbia, heading out The Strait of Georgia toward Homfray Lodge in Desolation Sound. Before we left The San Juan Islands I ordered a tart pan from Williams Sonoma, and any day now our contractor will be receiving the package for me.

Sometimes we need to walk away and let go, particularly my husband who has been on the site of our remodel every day of the week, every week, since mid May. We’re in good hands here with him at the helm, and our brother-in-law, Tug Yourgrau, who has mastered navigation. The house is in capable hands with our contractor, and whatever gets accomplished will appear to me, when we get back, like magic.

I’ll be starting from scratch with my tarts. I saw them as paintings in Paris, and only knew how they tasted through others. But if baking is anything like other arts, it is probably hard to taste your own tarts anyway.

I intend to make tarts for breakfasts. Tarts for entertaining. Tarts for the neighbors who have put up with all the construction and allowed us use of their parking spaces for the many trucks involved. Tarts for any new friends I make on island. And if all goes well, a tart table at the weekly Farmers Market in Friday Harbor amongst other bakers, produce growers, purveyors of fresh pasta, lavender, sea salt, oysters, grass fed beef and lamb, as well as goat cheese makers.

I’m thinking that baking is for me because I’m a recipe follower. I never learned to cook at home. Growing up, I was the runner for whatever ingredients my mother was missing in whatever she was making. Seems I’d just hop off my Schwinn with one thing in the wicker basket, and she’d send me back to town for another.

Then when I went away to school, the feminist who ran the school assured us, “If you can read, you can cook.” So as the years went by, I bought a lot of cookbooks and made some beautiful meals by following recipes.

Somewhere along the line my husband took creative control of the kitchen, and I was almost back to the girl on the bicycle. I knew to stand out of the way. But if there’s one thing he doesn’t touch it’s the dessert.

So I am going to master tarts.

I’m thinking baking works with writing. One can’t wander far when it’s in the oven. And this is berry country. It all adds up.

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Where There’s Music

Cabinet 2 Nothing’s changed and yet everything is changing at our remodel on San Juan Island. We are still strung between homes and living on a boat in Friday Harbor. I commute to Seattle once a week to water plants, sweep walks, collect mail, and run my writing workshop. There, I sleep in my clothes because realtors have been known to come to the door for showings in the early and late hours. I try not to mess a thing while the house is on the market, but to leave it picture perfect. Not really home anymore.

It’s too silent.

And the job site is still just that, a job site. Not home either. If anything, Friday Harbor Marina is starting to feel like home. Ferries come and ferries go, and the rhythm of it all…. One day I’ll be looking back at this time with a certain nostalgia, that I know.

Life is simpler on a boat. It’s amazing how much stuff one doesn’t need. Just the book you are reading and the clothes you are wearing. The elbow-to-elbow closeness of neighbors sharing the same dock. Blinded by fog, and glowing in sunsets together.

The sway of the boats in currents and gentle rolling with waves. The symphonic sounds of wind whipping through halyards and mast stays (flutes). Hulls against rubber fenders (violins). Creaking of pilings against the dock (a cello). Humming of stays (clarinets). And sleeping in our berths on board boats that are talking to each other in the night.

Things are going up, however, at the house. Until now, I had to close my eyes to picture anything we had specified. Now, with the kitchen cabinets in, I can start to see with eyes wide open. How handsome they look in an expresso brown that’s nearly black, standing about like so many waiters in a cafe wearing white shirts and long, pressed black linen aprons over pants.

The kitchen was central to our plans; it’s only right that that go first. And as the materials go up, color and texture start to come in to play. Followed by music. One can almost hear it.

Café music.

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