It’s late morning, somewhere around 10. Lu is not due for her nap for a couple of hours. The sun is out.
Let’s go. Let’s go to the grocery store.
Most of the drives we take on the island include flashing blurs of green. Most of the island is fields and forests, with a few houses tucked in behind the stands of trees. Try to take photos and I have this.
Here’s the farm I wrote about last month. It’s on our drive into town, which means that we can keep checking in on the state of the farm. There’s a profusion of green plants these days.
There aren’t that many stop signs on the island (and only the four-way stop in the middle of town has a flashing yellow stoplight). Most of the time, it’s open road. When one approaches, you want to know it.
We see the Deer Crossing signs far more often than stop signs. Believe me, you need these as a reminder.
During the summer, nearly every yard you pass has a pair of deer chewing on plants. (Most gardens are fenced in the middle of a field around here, to keep the deer out.) On warm nights, we drive slowly down the hill toward our house. Deer dart out all the time. I really don’t want to hit one.
Not a day goes by from spring to fall without seeing deer around here.
It’s open road.
It’s fully spring. Every tree has leaves. Everything is finally here.
Time for a curve in the road. Climb a little hill, wait for the houses to disappear, and pass the clutch of stationery bikes parked on the side of the road, and then we see…
This is Tramp Harbor. (I swear.) This open swath of water, the waves breaking into the shore, the Cascade mountains lining the bottom of the sky on clear days, the sailboats in the distance — this is part of our drive into town.
I will never grow tired of this view. Usually, at some point when we drive by this view, either Danny or I sigh and say, “Can you believe we live here?”
I still can’t.
And I’ve lived here before.
I used to jump off this dock on dark nights in summer, the hot air just starting to cool, the phosphorescence glimmering green in the water. My friends and I looked down, took a deep breath, held hands, and jumped.
That cold water was a shock to the lungs, every time. We came up roaring.
I haven’t done that in a long time. But I think of it every time we pass this dock.
That is my favorite beach on the island, possibly in the world. KVI beach. It has an official name. I don’t know what it is. Everyone calls it KVI because those radio towers belong to a Seattle station with the call letters of KVI. I don’t listen to the station, but I love that beach.
When I was a teacher here in the 1990s, I used to go to KVI on warm days and grade papers up against the bluffs.
Here’s a sure sign of spring. Bikers on the road. In the summer, some roads are thick with packs of men and women in matching jerseys and intent expressions, pedaling hard down the road. You have to drive slowly, and on narrow roads there is no chance to pass them.
Another chance to practice patience.
I love this road. When I lived in New York, and rollerbladed Central Park, sometimes a certain curve would remind me of this road. It always made me sigh.
That’s the high school where I used to be a teacher.
Now we’re on the main highway. 40 miles an hour. That’s the Country Store on the left. That’s really the name. The Country Store.
We bought Ozette potatoes there a few weeks ago, to plant. I hope they grow.
We’re closer to town now. That’s Minglement, the coffee roaster/health food store/gathering place for the community. When I taught high school here, this was the roasting plant for Seattle’s Best Coffee. About 11 am, in the middle of teaching Greek and Latin roots, I would stop to sniff the aroma coming in the classroom. Hmmm. Guatelmala roast.
Now, we buy gluten-free flours and oats there, along with island eggs and meat. I love that front porch.
More blur. Even on the main highway, this close to town, there are still fields and trees. Always trees.
You might remember that last year I wrote about the fish shack on the road where we buy salmon and halibut directly from the fishermen. There it is, on the right.
Open every weekend.
There are a lot of churches on the island. A lot. This is a small town, after all.
There’s one movie theater. It always reminds me of the movie theater in The Last Picture Show. They play current movies, though.
Someday I will see a movie in a movie theater again.
This isn’t really on the way to the grocery store. It’s one block over. The day I took these photographs, we had to make a quick stop at the post office. And so, this.
This is one of two Mexican restaurants on the island. I think it’s the better one. When it first opened, we all piled in, because the food was authentic, the cooks direct from Mexico. After awhile, it started to go downhill, toward Tex-Mex, toward the standard tastes of American expectatations of Mexican food. I didn’t go for years.
Now, though, it’s back to fiery and alive. Every time I have been, I’ve left smiling.
Next door, the island’s Latin store. Truly.
It’s meant to serve the immigrant population who have come here to work in the restaurants and work on the farms. We go in for spices and other foods, however. I love that this little small town on an island, which could be entirely homogeneous, is not all white. Not by a long shot.
Here we are. At the grocery store.
It’s quite a drive.
Can you blame us for going nearly every single day?