It’s getting to be that time of year again: an endless flow of crowded ferries, limited downtown parking, strange faces in grocery’s checkout line, long ferry wait times, and scores of tourists circling about town on red mopeds or slithering across crosswalks with mumbles of what a cute town, what a cute town as they grip the free Chamber of Commerce island map.
Since so many island families, island friends operate small businesses I grin and thank sidewalk strangers for visiting our home, our tiny piece of paradise.
I try not to laugh when people ask what time the whales jump out of the water on island’s west side, just as I try not to honk, to yell at bicyclists who block curvy farm-vista roads riding four or five wide.
It’s that time of year again when I spend an entire day thanking the most amazing best friend a mama could have.
Oh, how these ladies love Daddy.
In direct contrast to everything I’ve done before this year, I woke at 4:50 AM to run with my dog, to look at the sun rising over the harbor, over Brown Island.
I returned to bake a quiche with Dad inscribed in the crust.
We had planned on a morning sail over to Lopez Island, but plans changed at 7:30 AM.
With all three ladies dressed in fleece, beside a bag of snacks, thermos of coffee and piles of rain gear we switched gears, switched destinations and decided on a picnic to island’s west end with views of British Columbia, The Olympic Penninsula and local orca pods.
Lucy said, Um, Mama, I think that container ship is full of marshmallows from China.
The hike at Lime Kiln State Park proved a bit too long for our little fleece bear, initially thrilled to be at foot amidst all those Madrona trees.
We stopped frequently to look for whales.
We rested when trees opened themselves up with a mossy smile.
When we reached the historic lime kiln we marveled at the lime residue like a waterfall, like a smear of baby powder.
We showed our true selves early Father’s Day morning on a happy hike within island woods.
We looked up.
We liked what we saw.
We saw relics from long ago’s telephone service.
We saw trees that looked like so many things, like a many-eyed whale-eating monster.
We saw how trees heal themselves, how trees really don’t like signs. Or, as Lucy said,
Look, Mama. This tree eats any sign you put on it. Maybe trees don’t like signs. We shouldn’t hang any on a tree. We shouldn’t carve our name on one, either. We should just smile at trees and love them a whole lot.
We looked down as we walked, careful to notice three daisies that looked so much like three, happy sisters we know so well.
We saw flowers that we figured must be a cousin to a rose.
We saw hearty, cliff-side plants living in the toughest of places.
:::Our Favorite Cove
Summer comes to the island, humid and thick.
Summer comes to the island, teasing and raining.
The sun hides behind grey clouds one day until a reveal when heat of the most delicious heat bakes day after day after day.
This year, this summer doesn’t feel gradual.
This year, this summer feels taunting, teasing.
We’ve gone in and out of summer’s heat for a few weeks now and I believe everyone on this island wants summer to just go ahead and stick.
One day the rocks are almost too warm to picnic on a perch.
While the next day the rocks are a bit of a breezy hangout.
Still, favorite places to chat with favorite buddies are just that, whatever the weather.
I remember when my childhood feet would turn into summer feet before July, before no time.
I remember how happy and proud I was, always testing my feet over barnacles, kelp and hermit crabs.
It’s wonderful to watch in my eldest.
It’s also wonderful when Grandma comes to our island, comes to the beach to help our favorite preschooler find a rocky perch, perfect for salty hugs and picnics.
It’s wonderful to watch the babes of my mama friends change from spring’s pale to summer’s tan and dig, castle and tide pool.
I believe you really know a good friend when you love their children like family.
I believe you really know a good friend when you love their pets like family.
Oh, the beach cliff climbers.
Oh, the beach walkin’ babe.
Oh, the tide pools, the tide pools, the tide pools
are so the very best part of it all.