Jawbone arch over Useless Bay

How quiet outside at night with the crickets coming on and the sound of a fan somewhere, then something papery in the breeze, rainbow-colored wind socks, phantoms, deep sea creatures floating on a different speed, a dark, ancient voodoo, a scene from a horror film.

We walked down to the totem poles at dusk, all the stories it had to tell with arms crossed defiantly, smug secrets, bulging eyes—and Lily took selfies and stood there with the sky going pink behind her, they really see no badness in their posing on the phone: so purely and lovingly they look at themselves without fatigue and the storage size is endless, you can just go back and delete—

The first night we kept the blinds down but by mid-morning the sun came out and so did we and into the shops we spilled, and swiped our card many times.

The next morning I walked down to the water, the tide was coming on and it was all gray, the same as the sky, parts of it streaked where the sun was trying to get through but it was tough, the clouds woolen knots. The nearby islands and slabs of land like sleeping giants on their sides, burial mounds, stretched out timeless, unmoving as the gray, as the tide clapping the shore. Indistinct gulls, ducks, tiny heads popping out of the water, a seal so like the head of a human in its eyes. How the totem pole faces look to be hiding something, how you can go there in your mind with these small towns at dusk when everything closes down and the flag poles clap, and it’s just the breeze animating things, and all there is is this history, stories stacked on top of one another, silent.

In the restaurant on the cove everyone kept their hats on with faces ribbed like candle wax, the same look as the waves lapping in, stretched out and contoured, unclear if they’re coming or going.

There was a small balcony on the side where you could stand protected when it was raining and listen to it, and the arthritic pre-spring trees in the distance, their knobby fists…a bird landing on a wire and steadying itself, time for a tune before it flaps away…and the four of us in our car crawling across the island from south to north in our metal box, so like the bugs on the back of some beast, indistinct too, past a turn-off for Useless Bay, Charlotte asking what we’re going to do when we get there and me saying I don’t know.

Categories: Memoir, musings, travel

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Last couple of post of yours have been poignant! Like that word, harder to spell or say, that’s the question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got to love the soft G’s! Hey good, thanks for saying so Austin. Sun setting and clouds going pink again here on the islands. Thank god for Wi-Fi?! Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wifi, a basic human resource. It’s interesting how access changes usage. Like out here in the boonies I’m still on spotty cellular, so I find myself in these existential reveries where I really consider the issue of should I ingest whatever it is I’m trying to score. And it’s funny cause a lot of times I just stop, realize it isn’t worth it. I read more on limited internet, more bang for your byte in prose.


      • Did that to some extent living in Europe last year, chose to kind of untether. For what it’s worth hey thanks for consuming my data man. Or time or bytes or whatever, thanks.


  2. Cool piece, especially liked this paragraph: “In the restaurant on the cove everyone kept their hats on with faces ribbed like candle wax, the same look as the waves lapping in, stretched out and contoured, unclear if they’re coming or going.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kristen! Thanks, that’s the Pacific Northwest island vibe, for sure. Feels good for us to dip our toe in it. Wishing you and yours a lovely weekend! And golden egg revelry.


  3. You’re on a roll, man. Love the clouds as woolen knots. Word music …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not to gush or anything Bill but damn, that is a beautiful piece of prose. I don’t know if being familiar with those landscape elements and those small coastal town vibes helps, but I was right there as I read it. Like eating a delectable dessert with your eyes closed!


  5. i love the image of the you traveling in the metal box like the bugs on the back of a beast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good, thank you. I borrowed some of that from the Sting lyrics “back like lemmings into shiny metal boxes” from the song synchronicity 2. Good times. Why not? Bill


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