We’ve spent the better part of the last week in the San Juan islands, up in northern Washington, staying in a cabin looking out over the ocean. It was not terrible. I am more relaxed than before.
A few key moments:
There’s a woodstove and I love getting fires going in it. I love it in a Primitive Male “I Make Fire” kind of way (as opposed to a “That Guy Needs Help Right Now” kind of a way). One evening, I couldn’t get the fire going. Just died and died again. So my wife took a crack at it. She shoved two big pieces of wood in there, each wrapped in a sheet of newspaper. I, of course, quietly scoffed and mocked her foolish naivete in the area of fire-starting. Then, as it dwindled, she put in another piece of paper. Maybe one more. Then it started roaring away, because of course it did. Sometimes she drives me nuts.
There was an incredible wind-storm while we were there. It was beautiful to watch, but it also woke us up in the middle of the night. First from sheer volume, and the creaking creaking creaking of the giant tree right outside the tiny window-box bedroom. Then it kept us awake because once you start thinking about a tree falling onto you at two in the morning? Yeah, pretty much nothing’s going to make you stopthinking about a tree falling on you.
One morning we were getting up and I looked out the window and said to my wife, “Hey! There’s two seals swimming by!” “Where?!” She rushed out but by then they were gone. So we wanted to go out and see them. As she got her shoes, I went to the front door. “Cool! There’s a whole bunch of rabbits right out front!” “I want to see!” “Oh, they all ran away.” Out we rushed, down the steep hillside to the water. I went ahead a little ways and saw an entire family of otters on the rocks. I tried to get her attention without alerting the otters. I waved, I whispered, I jumped up and down. Finally, she saw and got over to me… just as they all noticed me and slipped in to the water. So, there was a ton of wildlife… but you’ll just have to take my word for it, apparently.
There’s a sea kayak for guests’ use, and a little island within paddling distance. It was cold, and I didn’t have any good pants for kayaking, but what were we supposed to do? Not go kayaking? When we got back, and my jeans were soaked, you could have hit me in the ass with a shovel and I wouldn’t have felt a thing.
I read Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day while I was up there and it’s fantastic. Not a crime-mystery, as his works usually are, but absolutely worth your time.
Had a revelation: Being on vacation is better than not being on vacation.