From the moment I drove off the ferry onto the island, I knew I was home.
No other place on the planet that I’ve ever visited has tugged on my heartstrings the way this one has. I am relaxing into the knowledge that it is my true heart’s home and that someday I will live there again.
For now, it is enough to visit. Saturday was blissful. There were morning conversations at the Farmers Market, getting caught up on people’s lives, exchanging hugs and well wishes, hearing “The island misses you!” over and over again . . . oh and I miss the island, I do I do. A ten minute massage from Michele at her booth at the market turned into at least twenty. I felt so cared for and nurtured. There were thoughtful words exchanged with a farmer friend who is now battling cancer and can no longer farm. He’s given so much to this community. I ended up buying two pastel paintings from Jyl, one a scene of Legoe Bay that I’ve admired for years and another one of Lovers Bluff. I know just the spot to hang them at Rainbow Cottage.
I helped Colleen at the bake sale for Beach School (two plates of gluten-free cookies, yay!) and bought a ceramic plaque of an orca whale made by Ona, age 9, at the fundraiser. (The community plans to make up the 33% budget cut the school district imposed on the island school.)
Back on our lane, Colleen’s lilacs were in full bloom. When I breathed deeply, I inhaled lilac perfume and tangy sea salt. Ahhhh. Across the road, we visited my house, warmly welcomed by our tenants. Such a joy to see my herb garden, spilling over the stone borders in a riot of color and texture and scent. I gave our tenant Nancy a garden tour as she furiously took notes so she would know exactly what all these strange plants were. I remember planting every one: motherwort, San Juan sage, English sage, sweetgrass, comfrey, oregano, garlic chives, thyme, rosemary, sweet woodruff, lilies of the valley, ladys mantle, echinacea, valerian, Spanish lavender, columbine, miniature rose, violets, beach strawberry. And Nancy and her family have started a vegetable garden — so lovely to see that.
I thought it would be really difficult to walk into my old house and see other people’s furniture and things there. But no, it didn’t seem strange at all. And it wasn’t sad. They are taking great care of the place, and are very happy there, and I am thankful for that.
The rest of the day passed joyfully, visiting gardens and woods and the shore. I think I had a goofy grin on my face all day long. Colleen and I strolled around Sculpture Woods; it’s been at least a year since I was there. I love the boat/bones theme Ann M. is working with these days. We made a quick jaunt over to the LIHT environmental center where we were charmed by a display of haiku-like poems written at different spots all over the island, each one attached to a map of the place where they were penned. (More hugs here too.) A visit to Lis’
peony farm and a warm welcome from John & Diana at their garden sanctuary — a truly magical spot if there ever was one. This is where John tends his native plant nursery and Diana makes her flower essences. There must have been a couple of dozen hummers there, plus all kinds of birds swooping from feeder to feeder and tree to shrub to flower. I was delighted by a flutter of wings close to my ear, the rat-a-tat-tat of a pileated woodpecker and soft “hoooo-hoooo“ of a barred owl in the woods.
I picked up Colleen & Keenan (age 12) back at the bake sale — they took in $1500 for the day, hooray! — and we drove up the mountain to return the espresso machine that had been on loan for the day. On the way, we stopped to see Lynn D. and her shimmering raku pottery. She recommended that we visit a new illustrator on the island so we backtracked to the west side. To my delight, I discovered that he is one of my favorite children’s book illustrators, the author/artist of Storm Boy and Frog Girl. He’s done a series of pencil island vignettes that I longed to purchase but put off for another day. He has a gorgeous house and a killer view, too.
We had supper at the cafe, where a BBQ party was goin’ on in the beer garden. There were more familiar faces and conversations and hugs. I stroked the chair where my dad would always sit to eat Joe’s great fish and chips, my eyes misting up a bit. I remembered the night some years ago when the full moon was rising over Komo Kulshan (aka Mt Baker) and Meredith turned out all the lights in the cafe so everyone there could just watch . . . Her, luminous, huge, extraordinary, lighting up mountain, water and cafe with her radiant glow.
The day ended on the west side’s rocky shore — we found our beach glass right away! — snuggled up against a driftwood log to watch the evening show. Do we ever tire of the shifting colors of sky and sun and sea, the sound of waves casting stones on the shore, the delight of seal heads bobbing above the water and fish jumping high? I think not.
I offer up my heart in praise, in gratitude, in utter and complete bliss. Oh blessed, blessed be.