Monday, December 11, 2006

Island time

Moonshell Fragments on Whidbey Island

Here in the great northwest the skies are twenty seven shades of grey.
Grey as the backside of a worn out nickel, with pearlescent oystershell swatches of silver over deep slate, bare tree branches frozen against the shifting soup of stone colored skies, holding their icy breath until spring. We are definitely not in California anymore, Toto.
We have been here for a week now, stumbling around in the unfamiliar weather and territory, marveling at the stark beauty, the snow capped Cascades rising up in the east, The Olympics hovering in the clouds to the west, and the winding deep blue of the Puget sound. The wildness of the land is humbling and awesome.

Tell someone you have just moved here from California and watch their eyes light up. Which part? they want to know. And when you tell them they eagerly offer up their own story. They are from Long Beach, Berkeley, San Diego. Quit the rat race job, sold the condo and traded it for a house on 5 acres. Now they make candles and doilies, raise goats, write novels and paint. Never been happier, they say. Just wait until the sun comes out. You'll see. But unlike them I don't have that memory of sun to carry with me like a hopeful secret, only this cold blanket of grey, as if I can't quite wake up from a dream, as if a part of me has not yet arrived. I watch the tight buds on the bare branches of the white ash outside my window hold still in the biting wind and wait.

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