We spent the aftermath of Christmas on Whidbey island, a town called Langley, so idyllic they still have phone booths with free local calls, wild bunnies, signs in the shop windows promoting inclusion, views of the water, a bell to ring if you see a whale, a sign when you enter town that says WHALECOME. Wood cutouts of crows with candy cane scarves, one knocked over by the wind.
And for three days it was mostly wind and rain, as you’d expect. The wind played the pan flute on our chimney, the kids slept in, and all we had was time.
So content in our rented space, where everything’s clean and none of it’s ours. Heading down to the small beach, the wind kicking up, the windsocks 45 degrees, along a muddy path where a hippy’s doing tai chi—over the water in the clouds, I watched the sea gulls circle like kites without strings, on the currents they swirled…and I lost myself for a time.
I ate four raw oysters at the oyster bar, drank a pale ale, and then sent text messages bragging about it. Then I walked down to the water in the rain and stood in my new parka watching for whales, fooled by the look of the waves and the water fowl into thinking I’d seen one, imagining what it would be like to meet my family for lunch, their smiling faces. And I wanted so badly to be the poet I imagined I could be, but knew it would be hard with no pay…but how tempting the thought, drawn down to the end, to remake myself.