On Friday, I visited the school where P teaches and answered questions asked by three of her language arts classes (and gave them tours of the van & introductions to the dog). It was so much fun that it made me wish I wrote middle-grade stories so I could visit more schools. In the evening, we went to a literary event where three authors and a musician read/sang from their works. It was also fun, but made me glad I don’t write literary fiction.
And now I’ve been thinking about those things for twenty minutes or longer, but I’m not sure I’ve got anything more profound to say about them than this: talking to kids about creativity and imagination and writing to please yourself felt full of joy to me; listening to the adults share their pain in literary form for our muted applause had no joy in it. At least not for me. Maybe it did for them? Either way, I’m not going to start writing literary fiction.
On Saturday morning, P and I caught the 6:10 AM Edmonds-Kingston ferry, to visit friends of hers on a farm near Quilcene for the weekend. The weather was miserable and Pam’s hopes of stunning me into devoted love for the Pacific Northwest seemed doomed to failure. Rain, gray clouds, a chill in the air… But we hung out at the farm, which was quite beautiful, and met the chickens and goats and resident cat and people. Ate veggie hash and chicken-apple sausage for lunch and tried not to get too wet. The air was amazing — fresh, clean, with that smell of wet plant-life mixed with a hint of ocean — and everything was lush and green.
In the afternoon, we went on a walk to a beach: not a hike, more of a stroll. But it took us on a dirt road through a nature preserve, surrounded by gorgeous rain forest. Then down an invisible path, Zelda hopping over the logs in her way, until we reached a marshy area that opened on to an almost deserted beach, with oyster shells everywhere.
Sunday dawned almost as gray. But I had a nice walk around the farm with Zelda, and then an excellent late breakfast of blueberry pancakes, bacon and potatoes. Afterwards, P and I drove into Port Townsend and wandered around for a while. It’s an appealing small town, right on the water, but around noon it started to get crowded. Lots and lots of dogs on the sidewalks for Zelda to sniff! On our way back, we stopped at the tiny local grocery store, where I found gluten-free sandwiches, gluten-free brownies, even gluten-free oats. And some beautiful fruit and veggies. The weather might not have been selling me on the Pacific Northwest, but that little store was amazing.
And the weather was starting to improve. The sky was clearing, patches of blue showing up. By late afternoon, it was gorgeous. We took another drive, this time to an oyster beach where Pam could harvest oysters. She’s got a license that lets her harvest 18 per day, and we brought one of her friends from the farm with us, so the two of them harvested 36 oysters, while Z and I wandered around and admired the view and the day and the feeling of ocean air.
That night, our hosts invited several people over for a barbecue. They grilled salmon and shrimp and beef and pork tenderloin and chicken, with roasted vegetables, kale salad, and potato salad, followed by ice cream for dessert. Oh, plus the oysters, rolled in corn meal and pan-fried. It was an incredible feast, all of it delicious. We sat around a bonfire and ate, then shared a few ghost stories.
On Monday I woke up super-congested and not feeling very well. I’d had plans for the day with a local friend, but he texted me that he’d caught something over the weekend and wasn’t feeling great and since I was also not feeling great, we agreed to try again next year. Then P said, “Oh, if you’re not leaving, we should kayak today.”
Apparently, the word “kayak” is a miraculous health restorer for me, because I forgot all about not feeling well. We took the kayaks and Z and went for a paddle. Unfortunately, Z was not super-cooperative. I put a towel down for her on the front of the boat and she did okay for a little bit, but then she started jumping off, repeatedly. I managed to pull her back in without overturning the kayak multiple times, but finally I took her back to shore. P went to put her kayak away so she could help me with Z and while she was gone, Z peed without waiting to reach grass. (An indication of how urgent the need was, because Z only pees in grass.) Drat. I wish I’d realized earlier that that was her problem, because we could probably have kayaked for longer and farther, but by then P was out of the water and it made sense to head home. But it was absolutely lovely to be on the water and it was a perfect day.
After kayaking, we began the trek home. We knew we’d have a long wait for the ferry, but we used the time to first get ice cream and then walk Zelda down to the beach by the ferry dock. I’m not going to post any more pictures, because I’m actually writing on Tuesday morning and hoping to get on the road in the very near future and my internet is so slow that picture-posting is tedious — but the path to the beach had wild roses and fennel growing, and the beach had kids playing in the water and people enjoying the sunshine, and it was lovely and warm and perfect.
Despite the weather, my congestion, and the traffic, it was an amazing holiday weekend. I still don’t think I’m going to wind up living in the Pacific Northwest, but I hope to spend lots more time here in the future. But not today — today, I start heading east. I have no reservations and no definite plans, but I want to be in Michigan by June 22nd, which means it’s time to get moving.