In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks


Friday, March 25, 2011

Ferry Stories

This summer a short two pager that I wrote will be in a book about Washington State ferries. The story is about what it was like to be on a ferry the morning of 9/11. Here is a little taste:

New flames were emanating out from the south tower. We looked and waited for the person speaking to confirm it, but the newscaster did not yet recognize what we had witnessed LIVE! The wings and landing gear on the news helicopters and airplanes were in the way, preventing a clear view of both towers, causing me to subconsciously toss my arms to the left, “Get out of the way! Turn your plane around to get a better shot”! Frustrated, I changed the channel to get some answers. Within five minutes of the second plane hitting, Fox News called it a “suicide terrorist attack”, and NBC, “something deliberate”. TWO planes HAD hit the towers! A cold silence fell over our living room. What the hell was going on? The kids were just waking up and heading downstairs. My son asked, “What happened?” For a brief moment the four of us just stared at each other. As parents, we were speechless, but knew we had to tell our 3rd and 5th grader the truth: terrorist have just attacked America!

Then something strange happened to me, which to this day I cannot explain; I just fell into the motions of Tuesday. It was 6:20 and I had to catch my foot ferry. I did what the clock told me to do. Trusting my husband to comfort the kids, I put on my commuting socks and tennis shoes then drove the mile down to the waterfront.

The old Carlisle so lovingly restored sitting at the end of the dock talked to me; “I’ve made it through two World Wars and I’m still floating. Everything will be OK”, but I did not listen. This little boat would carry me across the Sinclair Inlet to the main Washington State Ferry terminal for Kitsap County in Bremerton.  Hopping onto the boat, I headed right for the cabin to find a seat, instead of viewing Port Orchard’s hills of classic homes and evergreen filled ravines, as I normally would. I sat in silence, along with four other passengers. It was hard to tell by their quiet demeanor if they were in shock by the events that just unfolded or if they had not yet been made aware. Judging by the sleepy atmosphere that normally enveloped the boat, I believed the latter. I didn’t want to say anything, perhaps I didn’t know WHAT to say. I couldn’t tell them what had happen. It was nice just for a moment to believe, that it was Monday morning and everything was normal again.

As we approached the Bremerton dock, our little boat passed by the mouth of a jumbo class triple decker auto ferry. This early in the morning the groaning sounds of cars loading onto her made it easy to imagine the ship as a basking shark ready to suck us in like plankton. Feeling myself being drawn into the gap I sat up and fixed my coat so as to collect myself.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poetry: Green

Oh to be the type of green
that stays green through the frost,
when the ground is white and
branches are heavy with Winter's weight

Brown red orange,
the colors of fall
most greens do fade
retracting in the cold air

Freezing to the warm summers sun
to be green in all seasons,
fresh to the touch
ever holding the color of LIFE!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


This week I had a family emergency in Eastern Washington that required my attention. I went. It was stressful. Must admit, the thought to not go and avoid the drama all together was entertained, but soon pushed to the side by my sense of obligation.
Some of the ways I relieve stress is to drink plenty of water, go to bed early and take walks. Looking around my temporary landscape I searched for a good route to walk; a nice place to clear my head. There was a large flat field nearby that seemed four laps around it might equal a mile, so off I went. Weather was mild and the desert wind felt good on my face. The sunshine made me feel euphoric, if only for a moment. It was most welcomed during this dark Northwest winter.

Signs of Spring were everywhere: the pussy willows plump and furry preempting pink flowers, large pine cones hung heavy on limbs, birds chirped songs of courtship, and the last of Fall’s leaves blew by me, dry, soon to be soil.

Then I saw it- flat grass pressed in the shape of a small group of deer. “They picked the perfect spot to rest” I thought, “This view is beautiful!” A deer family lay here together, together for warmth and protection. I was here in Eastern Washington with my family for the same reasons. A primal urge fell over me to return to the ranch, ending my walk a lap early.

Later that day two of my family members joined me on my circuit, together, walking and talking. When I walked by the place where the deer slept I felt confident that just "being there" for them, with my family, was the best thing I could of done.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mom's Holiday Ham

OK, true story:

One holiday four generations of family are all gathered together in the youngest daughter’s new home for a rare time together. This is her first time hosting a family dinner. Her mom is helping her with the ham. The daughter plops the large ham into its pan and asks the mom, “OK what do we do next?” “Well,” answered the mom, “first thing we need to do is cut off the ends of the ham, just the sides about 2 inches worth.” “Why?”, asks the daughter. “I don’t know, but my mom always did it, and her ham’s turn out great every time.”
They call the girls grandma in, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends of the ham before cooking?” “Gosh, I don’t know why. Never thought of it. MY mother always cut the ends off, so that’s how I’ve always done it. How funny.”
The three ladies quickly walk out to the living room to find the girl’s great-grandmother sitting and talking with family. “G.G. I have a question for you. Why do you cut the ends of the ham off?”

“Well, I don’t know why YOU cut the ends of the ham off, but I had to cut the ends off or it wouldn’t fit into my oven!”

It’s good to know WHY you do what you do, so that you don’t waste any ham. ;)