Posted tagged ‘Bainbridge Island’

Forgotten Pleasures

March 13, 2019

It’s been so cold, so dark, for so long that I’d almost forgotten there was anything else. The kitties have been staying indoors, usually snuggled into my flannel sheets. I have resorted to putting on my warm and freshly-washed fuzzy clothes right in the laundry room, so as not to lose a bit of warmth.

Outside it looked like this. For about a solid month. I hung out in the kitchen, making big pots of pork chile verde, short ribs, and chili.

We had a miraculously sunny day, and I started dreaming of salad and looking at seed catalogs.

But then the snow got even deeper, and just stayed that way, interminably. My back yard was continuously buried in snow for at least two months. Until today.

Minou re-discovered the joy of sitting in the sun and watching the snow melt.

Toby scrambled up the delicate branches of the contorted filbert tree and onto the roof, checking for icicles and scouting out the best place for a sun bath.

Wearing flip-flops for the first time since I got back from Hawaii, I wandered around the snow-free edge of the garden and saw that the heliotrope, and various bulbs,

were struggling their way up through the frozen ground.

Amazingly, this sage, which was entirely covered with snow for two months, is still green. I have no idea how plants photosynthesize under snow.

The temperature this afternoon was 44┬░, but it felt like the tropics after weeks spent in the 20s. The kitties and I sat and basked in the sun, and I swear they looked as surprised and grateful as I felt. We had all forgotten the incomparable pleasure of resting in the sunshine after a long cold spell.

Soon the birds will be able to bathe again. The cats will shed their thick winter coats and will lounge on the warm patio, panting slightly. And I? I will be getting ready to move back to the island. Onward into spring and summer, and westward ho.

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Smoke And Sand

August 8, 2017

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I wept all the way from Walla Walla to Vantage. Not because I was sad to leave my new home for the old one, but because the land was awash in smoke. My eyes streamed, my nose stuffed, and cars appeared like shape-shifters, making me blink furiously and wonder whether I needed new glasses. When I climbed up to the high desert around Ellensburg the smoke lifted off the roadway, but the mountains were still a blur. Through it all I kept the vision of the island clear in my mind, and hoped against hope that the skies would clear.

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Seattle greeted me, wearing a gauzy grey little wrap. I could see the island across the sound, but dimly.

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If you were reading French Letters last year, you might recognize this view. You might remember it with a blue sky, blue water, as I do, not floating disembodied on the page as it is here. This is the back yard of the sweet vacation house I’m renting for the second time, a place that feels oddly like home, whatever the palette.

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And this is the front yard, peculiarly pale, mysteriously bleached. I should add that the two bodies of water are not more than 100 feet apart where this house sits, on a sand spit that we had all better hurry up and appreciate before it goes under water as the sea level rises inexorably.

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When I arrived the table was set for four, although I imagine that my guests and I will always dine outdoors, smoke be damned.

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In French you’d call this a house les pieds dans l’eau, with its feet in the water, and that seems apt, as I stretch out after my long drive with my feet over the scummy backwash of the ebbing tide on the lagoon side of the house.

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Night begins to fall, almost imperceptibly, the grey deepening, a few lights coming on. Still I don’t go inside. This is the first time in weeks that I’ve actually been cool while out of doors, and it feels fantastic, even though it means having smoke instead of sweat clinging to my hair.

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A smoky moon rises. This day is done.