Friday Harbor

16 years ago I woke up to a message on my answering machine from my father, telling me he was okay, and that a plane had flown into the Twin Towers. I turned on the TV and there they were, one tower trailing a stream of black smoke. All throughout the morning- the tower collapsing, the women in the green dress jumping to her death, the news of the plane crash- I was convinced it was a dream. I wandered outside after a while, and stood stripping the bark from a tree out front. The birds were singing, and I hated them for it.

We crossed the straits quietly yesterday, with no wind, towards Friday Harbor. The first thing I did was hop off the boat and get myself a scoop of lemon ice cream from Lopez Island Creamery. Then I went on some errands and walked to the small airport. It was hardly the forest ramble I’d been hoping for, but the motor got fixed, and we were able to pump out the holding tank and get some fuel.

I also met Popeye, the Friday Harbor seal mascot, of whom there is a status on the green near the marina. I was walking on the dock and heard a splash, and crept up to see him rolling in the water, small and speckled, with one milky-blind eyes like a moonstone. After a while, he impatiently slapped the water with a clawed flipper. Some people nearby told me he was agitating for fish, of which there was none. Eventually he left in disgust, gracefully dropping below the water and undulating away. He was there this morning, too, upside-down and snorting gleefully in a slip by the sailboat, his gray and white spotted belly on full display. They really do remind me so much of dogs.

It is a beautiful warm day, with unfortunately no wind. We’re motoring up President’s Channel to Matia Island, with Sucia as our fallback. The islands are glowing in the sun, honey-colored fields and gray-and-beige bluffs, thickly forested with evergreen and madrona. Seal heads pop up from the water, inclining their heads grandly towards the sky. I am sunburned and thirsty and content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *