Wednesday, August 5th
Lavender fills Roy, buds from the lavender wand I purchased Saturday in Snoqualmie Falls area have been shedding all over the place. At home, I would likely feel compelled to “clean up”. Here in Roy, one step from the outside, it’s natural, nature. Lavender is my new floor whisk broom, what I walk on, scoop up crush in hands, rub in palms; as in medieval times when bundles of herbs were room fresheners, floor sweeps.
Sunday was a travel day to new friend’s house on Camano Island, about 90 miles north of Seattle, parallel east of larger Whidbey Island. Camping three nights now side lawn Beau’s developing farm. What a treat to cook in a full kitchen again, rattle a bunch of pots and pans, explore cupboards and drawers. Beau has traveled more backroads than anyone I have ever met, having gone through a few Roys with his four girls. He particularly knows this region like the back of his hand, giving me an incredible boost in my exploring confidence. His house is something to see. Books everywhere! 6,000 I believe, with many maps and atlases scattered around. Incredibly kind and generous, Beau is quite the new friend to enjoy and appreciate. I had the pleasure of listening in on a Beau two hour travel guide talk with artist friend John tracing part of the Lewis and Clark trail from Bend, Oregon through Western Montana. John and two brothers embark for ten day tour end of August to retrace part of the Lewis and Clark journey. Incredibly fascinating and entertaining, I am inspired even more to take to the road as much as possible
“The world is not going to come to you. The sooner you realize this, the more time you have to pack. Some of the best living, the most valuable living, happens on the side roads.” Curly Girl Design “Send Love” notecard, artwork and words Leigh Standley.
Camano Island is just lovely — less than 30 miles drive around. In the Puget Sound enclave of islands and artists now, the air is rich and cool, breezes gentle. And, per sign below, a “swinging place”!
Inland parallel now, north of Seattle upward to Bellingham and beyond to British Columbia, it’s quite a bit of rich agricultural lands – farming and dairy, with fields and fields of corn for dairy feed. I am still figuring that one out as to efficacy of corn for cows.
I’ll make it sometime today to Whidbey Island for two nights of state park camping. Rest of week will be poking around urban areas of Mt. Vernon, Anacortes and Bellingham. (Getting new wheel road bike Mt. Vernon bike shop. Got super bent when someone yanking on it bike rack. From now on, bike goes in van when I am away from Roy. All good.)
Hanging out in THE AMAZING Mt. Vernon food co-op – 45 years and going strong. Puts Mt. Veron on the towns to move to possibility list. Picture from back parking lot; note entire building is co-op.
Across the street from co-op, this large chalk board is in a big alley.
Off to Mt Baker National Forest and North Cascades National Park next week, then back in this area to head over to the San Juan Island. All I have on my busy calendar is to make it to niece Sarah’s wedding Port Angeles August 29th. I am settling into this region of Washington State for the month. It is gentle here – which is what I realized while in Rainer I was after – gentle. As an adjective, gentle is “moderate in action, effect, or degree; not harsh or severe”. As a verb, gentle is to “make or become gentle; calm or pacify”. Gentle – an allowing to be, just simply be, who I have always been.
AND, some Liz – Owl Sightings: Several blogs back I explained how my copilot Liz the Owl got her name. Update on a three “Liz Sightings”. First goes back to my time at Lost Valley intentional community – permaculture – east of Eugene outside of Dexter, Or. Liz – picture below – is the lovely Lost Valley staffer that took me under her wing my time there.
Same day late afternoon bike riding country road through mossy ferny forest, walking a steep stretch, a fledgling owl flew through the canopy of trees from up the road to first closer to me, then back off into the dense forest. Possibly a Great Horned. Viewed only in underside flight, wings were light – white.
And, this past Sunday driving around Camano Island with Beau, we came across a fledgling Great Horned Owl smack dab in the middle of the road, pondering how to get a big dead delicious squirrel off into the trees for feasting. With a big stick I rolled the squirrel off to the side.
Mousetrap score: Mouse 5; Cynthia 0. Time to re-set.
Floor food rules: Minutes not seconds; nuts, days okay.
Sunday, August 9th
Okay, I’ve been off running around again – one island to the next. (Not nearly as exotic as it sounds, Roy and I are pretty low key.) Wednesday afternoon I hopped over from my base camp here on Camano Island to Whidbey Island, (with of course a stop off for lunch at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mt. Vernon (4th visit there so far)). Whidbey is the largest of the islands composing Island County, Washington, in the United States. (The other large island is base camp – Camano Island, east of Whidbey.) Whidbey is about 30 miles north of Seattle, and lies between the Olympic Peninsula and the I-5 corridor of western Washington. The island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. It is home to Nava; Air Station Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is approximately 55 miles long (from the extreme north to extreme south, and 1.5 to 12 miles wide, with 168.67 square miles.
I camped Wednesday night at Deception Pass State Park (George Vancouver gave it the name “Deception” because it had misled him …) – with the iconic Deception Pass Bridge. Curving gracefully between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands, it crowns the most visited stat park in Washington. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, this bridge is recognized for its engineering and the elegant architecture that complements the scenic and geologic wonder of Deception Pass.
Evening prior, I started in on Diane Ackerman’s “A Natural History of the Senses” (1990) – smell, touch, taste, hearing, vision, and synesthesia. Here now crossing Deception Bridge, dropping down into my forested coastal bay campground, the gypsy-me was deeply, fully living “synesthesia” – “the stimulation of one sense stimulates another, from the Greek syn (together) + aistansethai (to perceive). A thick garment of perception woven together by overlapping thread.” (Ackerman p. 289). She offers up a new term for me: “Sensuists. Someone who rejoices in the sensory experience. A sensualist is someone concerned with gratifying his sexual appetites.” (p. xviii). For me, my camping synesthesia led to a sensual, sensuous evening and next morning in the experience of the senses – with any context of sexual too small, limiting, for my union with nature.
To sit on the floor board with Roy’s side door open and chop up onions, kale, chard, peppers, for dinner.
To allow dinner to become breakfast.
To have morning picnic table yoga and tree top gazing.
To rinse peaches and marvel at sheer luscious beauty.
To charge up my toothbrush with campsite electricity!
My time on Whidbey was love without question; as has been this now month long gypsy tour, with kind and generous people everywhere I went. Thursday biking and hiking, exploring my way mid-way down the western side of the island to Fort Casey State Park, I camped by the Keystone Ferry Landing that runs a large ferry to Port Townsend. (camping to left of ferry.)
Thursday’s short Deception Pass walk down the water’s edge, I came upon the tree pictured below and immediately thought “oh how different, how interesting”, only to catch myself in the irony of if the tree had been a person, I would have more likely thought “oh how deformed, crippled.” What does it take to change such conscious and subconscious judgement to more neutral observation? As a very young child I was scared by my Tennessee Uncle Hershel, born breach with significant physical and mental lifelong handicaps. Kept on the farm without therapy or training, Hershel was a wild human-creature to me, used for his brute physical strength and otherwise allowed to generally roam as he pleased.
AND, close with some BIG NEWs reported in the “Cascade Weekly”. “It’s a big week for breakups. In addition to the news that Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani have split after about 13 years of marriage, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy also announced their separation via Facebook posts: “Our personal lives are now distinct and separate, and we will be seeing other people, frogs, et. al..” they wrote. This is our only comment on this private matter. Thank you for understanding.”
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, the “Pee Count”…definitely more outside than in!