I live in the San Juan Islands. Look to the east of Vancouver Island, 20 miles south of downtown Vancouver and 30 miles north of Seattle. That’s home.
A friend asked me the other day where ‘town’ is. I answered, Anacortes. It’s about seven miles to the south – seven long miles across mostly stormy seas at this time of year. I can island hop across Guemes Island. That reduces my exposure to the sea, but that route has its own drawbacks.
It is not unusual to be ‘stuck’ here on Sinclair Island for two weeks at a time. Making ﬁrm plans to go to town on any given day is pointless, or worse, dangerous. Making doctor or dentist appointments in the winter – forget it.
And that’s just ﬁne with me. Truth be told, I don’t look forward to town trips. I don’t care for “civilization,” the visual pollution, the noise, the traﬃc. And the older I get the less I like it. In fact, I would love to be able to pay someone to go to town and do all my shopping for me. Or better yet, modify my lifestyle further so that I don’t need anything from town.
First Nations people who lived here didn’t need town. They harvested and made everything they used.
Early white settlers on Sinclair had to row to LaConnor for supplies. Anacortes didn’t exist in those days.
Imagine that? They also rowed to Orcas Island to attend dances. The last dance I attended was almost two decades ago.
More and more I’m inclined to decline invitations, unless it’s a get-together I can walk to. And I’m notoriously late to events that I do have to motor to.
Now there are a few things I like about town trips. I love having lunch with my sister, Margi, at the Adrift Cafe. I love shopping at Ace Hardware, and the ﬁne people who work there. I get a kick out of Matia, Isaac’s talking husky, announcing her arrival in stores that allow dogs. She is a celebrity everywhere she goes.
But the bottom line is, I don’t mind when it blows for a week, blowing my town plans out of the water. Because as soon as I arrive in Anacortes, I’m plotting my escape – how fast can we get what we need done so that I can get home.
By “we” I’m referring to Isaac and Matia and I, since we almost always travel together for convenience sake. Isaac is my good friend and neighbor – not my husband as was hilariously surmised by Ace Hardware employees a couple of years ago because we are always seen together. (Isaac was not so amused.) Omg, I’m still laughing about that one.
So the next time you see me in town, know I am there under duress. I will smile and make nice conversation.
But really I’m thinking about the towhees at home and the bag of almonds I promised to get them 🙂