March 24, 2010
Through the archipelago.
It’s been great being back at home for a while on this rock, composing in my self-contained, hermetic phase, and yet remaining remarkably plugged in to the world when necessary, via Skype video. I’ve done a board committee meeting that was held in NY as well as given three interviews this week, all from my desk. No one would have known whether or not I had pants on. And I’m not tellin’.
The snapshots above really epitomize what’s insanely great about my commute when one makes it via water as opposed to air. And especially, on the occasional day when one’s vehicle is the very first car that boards and gets the über-view to end all über-views as we glide through the archipelago. Much of the time I’m on the Tonka toy planes that zip me from Seattle to San Juan Island in about 35 minutes, unless we first get an extra
crash landing test stop at Eastsound on Orcas to drop someone off. When it’s windy in the San Juans, it’s really blowing coming up the sound between the imposing lumps that flank it, and this ersatz wind tunnel can make for quite an unexpected… uh… thrill?… for no extra charge!… as the plane and its passengers are jostled about in directions that you’d prefer to think that a small piece of metal in mid-flight would not head. I’m writing this as the spring season becomes especially mild, to thwart anyone from ever wanting to fly here. I want this place all to myself and I’m willing to use scare tactics to achieve personal nirvana.
I particularly love this place during the eight months when almost no one is here. An island of 55 square miles that hosts less than 7,000 human beings during those “off-season” months means that very few cars prowl the roads. And those of us driving have the affable tendency to glance into passing windshields, due to the likelihood that we’ll recognize the person driving by. A “two-fingers raised off the steering wheel” acknowledgment is the norm. Can you imagine that in Los Angeles? Only with one finger, usually located in the middle of the hand, and not because they want you to call them later.
Winters at the beach are magic. Drama. Clarity. Inspiration. It was just like this during my 14 years in Malibu: most of the year, it’s as gorgeous as all the other times of year, and yet you have miles of beach all to yourself because people are too busy, or think it’s too cold, or whatever. So those of us living in these amazing places are the great beneficiaries of having gazillions of square miles of some of planet Earth’s most beautiful scenery, all to ourselves. I remember walking for long stretches on the beach at Paradise Cove on a January day with temps in the 70’s, not seeing a soul. I seriously wondered whether some disaster had struck southern California, and no one had informed me. And I just kept walking.