Mountains, Harbours, and Conversations

“One big ‘Aha!’ for geologists was that an entire mountain could collapse.”

- Peter Frenzen

It’s been a thrilling time, of late.

The Business Guy and I took a much-needed and -appreciated vacation to places south and west, where we visited new sights and old friends.

One highlight involved a twenty-minute ferry trip to Vashon Island, Washington where we saw the Bicycle Tree, which became famous after someone chucked a bike in a sapling in 1959 – you can imagine the state of swallow the rusted bike finds itself in, with the mature tree grown around it. There were deer, hippies, and lovely sights, and the ferry ride back to the mainland took all of five minutes (different route).

We spent a few hours at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, marvelling over the fish guys yelling and tossing fish; at the spectacle of enormous orange crabs in crushed ice lined up like an audience; at the abundance of flowers, produce, and people. It was great.

Without question, the most awe-inspiring sight of our trip was that of Mount St Helens. Perhaps it was the elevation, or maybe jet-lag, but both the Business Guy and I were light-headed and speechless gazing across the valley from 4,000 feet at this for-now-quiet monster of a volcano, nearly half of which was blown out in a catastrophic eruption a mere 30 years ago. What was inspiring was the rejuvenation of the surrounding forests and lakes, the sight of tiny wildflowers growing in the ashes of a healing landscape.

Then there were the conversations held with strangers as we travelled, people who were unfailingly polite and friendly. Visits, too, with old friends, held around the supper-table beneath the maple tree: a yellow-checked table cloth, delicious food, and ideas exchanged, making up for long absences brought about by living so far apart.

The conversations continued after our return home, as I had the honour of doingthis. It was such a pleasure to talk, read, play a little Bach, and then sit back and try to keep up with the conversations that flowed easily, ideas and impressions being exchanged and examined by a fascinating group of people who all share, among other things, a deep connection to the Elizabeth Bishop House. We were all so pleased to be there on a late-summer day. I hope buckets of money were raised for the house.

I can’t forget the winner of last week’s giveawayJK will receive a signed copy ofHarbour View for being the sixth person to email me in response to last week’s blog post. Perhaps she’ll leave it on a park bench or a picnic table, as I did while in Gig Harbor, Washington. How could I not? The picnic table was on Harborview Drive! It was a sunny morning, and I left it with a note scribbled on the title page inviting the reader to enjoy the book, and perhaps leave it somewhere for another reader to find. I wonder where it’ll wind up?

Categories: General.