Island-Bound, Heading Home

Are you still feeling the reverberations of last weekend’s Full Moon? I sure am. I’m sailing on the energy of La Luna Bella, letting her carry me away to my beloved Heron House on Lummi Island.  Craig and I have been busting our behinds over the last couple of weeks, making repairs and renovations to the house. Each morning before picking up a paint roller or cleaning rag, I’ve gone out for a long walk. I either head down the road to the bay, or up the hill to let the view take my breath away. I’ve circled with sisters, spent the night on the beach, and painted trees on our bedroom walls. There are times when I am so choked up with gratitude at this homecoming, I don’t think I can even contain it all.

I’m back in Bellingham today, but Moving Day is this coming Friday.

Grateful, grateful, grateful.

Craig and I built this straw bale house in 1999, and named it Heron House for the herons that live in the nearby slough. We lived there until 2008, when we moved to town. My dad lived with us the last few years of his life. Our friend Tami and her son Noah lived with us for awhile there too. So many memories in this house.

People often ask us why we left the island. It’s mainly because living according to a ferry schedule is very, very challenging. There are often long lines, it’s expensive, and when the ferry goes out you can get stuck on one side or the other. It’s the price islanders pay for living somewhere so beautiful.

After a couple of years in town, I started to say that I had been seduced by the convenience of living in town.  Ten minutes to the co-op, fifteen minutes to my favorite bookstore, ten minutes to visit the naturopath — instead of the all-day trips that leaving the island for errands and appointments often involves. I worked hard at blooming where I was planted, grateful for all the good things about living in town. I lived in a lovely house and had the woods for my backyard. But I still missed the island every single day.

And now we’re returning, graced by all those things I missed so much.

We began our return home on Summer Solstice, at my friend Michele’s birthday party. It was lovely to be welcomed back to the island by so many folks I hadn’t seen in years. So much joy and celebration, for Michele, for the longest day of the year, for homecoming!

On July 1st — the first day the house was ours again, after our tenants of six years had left — my mermaid sister Nora Cedarwind and I headed out to the island. We smudged the house with sage for cleansing, and sweetgrass for blessing, every nook and cranny. Nora is the reason I first moved to the island, and it felt so appropriate that she should be the one to be with me as the house became ours again.

On the weekend, Craig and I got down to work.  I cleaned and painted walls while he put down new terra cotta tiles in my studio (I decided I wanted to bring a little touch of the Southwest in, to warm things up!)

And later he installed new bamboo floors in the great room.

In the mornings, I sat in my Pop’s old rocking chair on the front porch, listening and watching the day come alive. This is one of my all-time favorite things to do. There is a whole lot of work to be done in the garden, but it will come, in its own good time. I watched hawks soar, swallows flit, and listened as a barred owl hooted in the woods across the way.

We went for morning walks by the bay (how I have missed these walks!) . . .

And a couple of times I climbed the hill behind our house, to be rewarded by the sheer beauty of the hilltop view.

On Friday night, I gathered with a few island sisters and we spent the night on the beach.

I woke more than once to see La Luna Bella sailing across the sky, and watched her set over Orcas Island as dawn was breaking. I wrote this blessing just after She disappeared:

La Luna Bella, thank you for watching over us all night long. We wake to birdsong and the sound of lapping waves, bathed in your beauty. As you set behind the western isles, bless our rising into this fair summer day. Blessed be.

After rolling up our sleeping bags, we gathered at Holly’s house for coffee, and she called an impromptu Storycatcher circle right then and there. I loved hearing the stories of how each of us first came to the island. I am looking forward to many more Storycatcher circles. (So grateful that Holly took Ann & Christina’s Circle Practicum training last summer  — and I’m taking it too, in just a few weeks.)

As Craig continued to lay tile this past weekend, I focused on painting trees on our bedroom walls. (I was inspired by the trees that Terri Windling painted on the walls of her cottage in Devon.)

I didn’t quite manage to finish painting the altar niche, but I will soon.

My island sisters Michele and Colleen (two of the women in the Gaian Tarot Three of Earth) showed up Sunday afternoon to do the grouting for the tile in my studio.  That’s true friendship!  Now every time I look at my studio floor, I will see that love that Craig and my sisters put into every inch of it. I will literally be standing on the shoulders of their love.

Last night, we got in the ferry line to head back to Bellingham, weary and dirty as hell.

And there She was, Komo Kulshan (Mt. Baker), the sentinel that guards all of us here in Whatcom County.  “She is mighty,” I murmured, repeating the words of my friend Latisha.

She is mighty, indeed.

We are coming home!

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