plane engine and freeways

Another week, another turn of the crank.  I’m outbound, and more so than usual, going from ferries to flights to freeways for a busy week in California.

Non-stop motion seems to be the way of things, though, at least for the moment – our family made our intra-island move to our long-term home here on the 1st, started school 48 hours later, and then piled into a small flotilla of boats for an all-school trip to Orcas and San Juan.

“All-school” was 9 kids.  And ‘field trip’ was 3 days of camping, cooking and curriculum.  Marine Studies are a core theme for the semester; we started one day assembling a whale skeleton in The Whale Museum, and ended by spotting a humpback whale surface at sunset.  Bit of luck with that last bit, sure, but what mattered to me was seeing firsthand how these teachers really can work a one-room-schoolhouse class, tailoring the instruction and the work across such a range of ability.  That part was all skill.

The marine studies continued over the weekend (in my absence, alas) as the school gathered by the county dock for a seine.  I watched vicariously through video and pics from Azure – Em got lucky and found a sculpin, which was neat, albeit not so pretty in person as on Ballast Point bottles.

* * *

And now it’s Tuesday afternoon.  Which means my kids must be in the water, again, earning their PE credits sailing and kayaking.

I’m on an Amtrak.  Peeling slowly out of Union Station, and accelerating south, past graffiti walls and empty aqueducts.  Used to really like staring at this stuff out the car window, when I was a kid.

Still do.

Non-stop motion!

amtrak departing union station, la


sunset on waldron

Once people hear where, the next question so often is, “Why?

I try to answer, but sense that I never do a particularly great job of it.

There is an answer, obviously, but it’s a jumbled mix of signals from head, heart, and gut.  A need adventure in one sense, a want for an anchoring in another; it’s a litany of little desires, or maybe it’s about big bold change.  Any sincere response wades out of casual-conversation territory pretty fast.

But fundamentally it’s for the kids.  Since kindergarten, Em has said that she wanted to go to school on the island.  “Yes, wouldn’t that be nice, we’ll do that someday, the whole family”, we’d say, and next thing you know, the kid is suddenly a fifth-grader.

Some windows don’t stay open forever…

As for Tamsin, she’s the more change-averse.  Prefers to maintain a well-defended comfort zone.  Was happy enough talking about the potential move to here, just so long as it didn’t necessitate a move from where she was.

When we arrived a few weeks back, she refused to touch her bike.  Too hard, she’d say, too many rocks, too scary.  But Azure cajoled her, under protest each time, into some short but ever-increasing cycling forays.

And then: belief.  Like with so many other things, Tamsin flipped polarity from her amplified self-doubt to a stubborn self-confidence.  Meanwhile I’m back in Seattle, doing a quick 2 day turn at MSFT, settling into a notably empty house, and Azure texts me a pic.

It’s Tam.  Who’s now apparently refused to even get into the car after a late dinner with friends, instead insistent on leading the way by bike, furiously pedaling home through woods and dirt and darkness.

Why did we move here?

Because this:



Begin Again

It’s been a long time since I blogged.  A decade-plus in which even the word “blog” seemingly went bankrupt, losing the pre-Facebook relevance and riches it so confidently owned, back in the Noughties.  It’s 2015, now, a punchy, Lomo-filtered landscape where thought and expression require just a press of a ‘Like’, maybe 140-characters at most, and it’s all so much simpler and easier, now…

And yet.

I think I miss it.  The writing.  The regular rhythm.  The blogging.

Plus, I have time, now.  And not just any old time, but the longest-lasting, heaviest-duty, most second-stretching kind of Time they make, namely, commute time.

When I blogged Emmie’s first days, we were living in England, and I ran a grueling 90-minute daily commute from Cambridge to London.  Boredom became the mother of creation, for a bit.  And this time the commute is longer:  Seattle to the San Juan Islands, and one of the more remote ones, at that.

It’s a two hour drive, an hour+ on a ferry, then 30 minutes on a 26’ SeaSport, just to get to the county dock.  Of course, it goes the other way ‘round, sometimes, all direction-dependent, you-see, but the long and the short is that there’s now suddenly lots of time; time enough to think, and time enough to write.

I hope.

Let’s see.