Dear Whidbey Island,
This summer marks the fifth anniversary since you and I moved in together, and I am more in love with you today than ever. You have made me forget every other place I ever lived: Tacoma, Seattle, Vietnam, Japan, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Dallas.
In my mind’s eye, I still see that 18-wheel moving van from Texas rumbling across the beautiful but delicate Deception Pass Bridge on that June morning in 2009, carrying all our worldly possessions.
How grateful to God I was that engineers in 1934 had been prescient enough to make the bridge able to handle the weight of 20 tons of 21st century stuff.
I realize that I am not your only lover. You are prodigious in your amorous embrace of many others. Some have slept with you their whole lives.
Others have known your charms for decades, still others for only a weekend. I know I must share you, but can you blame me for feeling just a bit jealous?
You have whisked me away to vistas of beauty I could not have imagined. Mount Baker to my left, the Olympics to my right, the Cascades and Ebey’s Prairie in front of me, even a peek at Mount Rainier on a clear day.
On your arm, I have strolled deserted beaches, watched kites soar, walked through a preserved forest, toured an historic fort, heard a concert in a barn, attended a hundred or more potlucks and marched in a parade with more marchers than parade viewers.
You have enticed me with your mussels from Penn Cove, crab from Deception Pass, broccoli rabe from Rosehip Farm, goat cheese from Little Brown Farm, Rockwell beans from Willowood Farm and wine from whatever number of wineries there are on the Rock these days.
You have introduced me to “heritage” everything, from alpaca wool to hogs to tomatoes to historic preservation.
You have thrown out my Round Up and filled up my recycle bin. You have caused me to purchase a hybrid vehicle.
You have introduced me to the wonders of fleece and flannel. You have taught me that denim is, indeed, suitable for all occasions, and that T-shirts may be worn in restaurants.
You have held my hand as I waded through the treacherous shoals of Rock politics: Never argue with anybody from the North End; it’ll get you nowhere. Never argue with anybody from the South End; it’ll get you nowhere.
Never invite somebody from Langley to dinner in Oak Harbor, and vice versa. Never bring up jets or tourists in public.
My lovely island, in these short five years, you have become my Rock.
What you have given me is so personal, so emotional and so physical that I cannot do it justice with these mere words.
To offer you my best tribute, I must retire to my garden and tend my vegetables. There, among the zucchini, potatoes, beets and corn, I will feel your warmest embrace and sing your highest praise.
Ah, mon amour, who needs the Casbah when we have each other? Or, as Ingrid Bergman should have told Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca:”
“We’ll always have Coupeville.”