Friday, August 28, 2009

The soft side

Paddling alongside one of the waterfront parks in Bellingham was like watching a movie about happy people--the group of four practicing their juggling, juggling pins passing between two of them in a regular rhythm, young couples strolling, people sitting on the benches waiting for the sunset. We were stars among the 3 - 8 year old set, whose faces would go from surprise to delight when they saw us floating by in our orange double inflatable kayak. We waved and they waved back. Lynne and I were on our way back to the public dock after a late afternoon paddle in Bellingham Bay with our friend Cynthia who was visiting from BC. (She promises me to send the pictures of us kayaking.) We had hoped to see the harbor seals that were raising their young near the old and now abandoned Georgia Pacific plant. About eight harbor seals did put on a nice display for us, sunning themselves on a float out in the water, noses up and tails down. We must have scared them with the swing of our paddles, though, because they slid off into the water when we tried to get closer. Its funny how the animals move in when people move out. The other inhabitants of the Georgia Pacific plant are Arctic Terns, who took over a parking lot and turned it into a nesting ground. We could hear their constant squawking.

Cynthia, who came in part in honor of Lynne's birthday, also motivated us to explore the bay near Larrabee (our park), and we had had a lovely Sunday afternoon peering into the water looking for Dungeness crab on the sandy bottom. Lynne had waded into the water up to her waist on Saturday to catch some crabs for our dinner, but hadn't been able to hold on to the first crab she caught, and had to release the second one because it was female. We settled for digging for clams and ended up with a pot of Varnish clams. They were OK to eat but a little gritty, and we found interesting other things when their shells opened up like skeletons of baby crabs and unidentifiable objects which caused my appetite to suddenly decrease.

Looking for jobs here has been downright depressing. My brightest job prospect was for a library technician job in an elementary school, a job created out eliminating the librarian position and re-creating the job at a lower salary scale. I applied but I haven't heard from them. It did offer health insurance and was part-time... I've applied for several jobs and haven't even been called for an interview. I'm still plowing my way through the 8 page application to be a substitute for Bellingham Public Schools. I had to write an essay expounding upon my assessments and modes of teaching, and I still have to write one about my educational philosophy. Actually, I'm supposed to be writing those essays now, but here I am...writing to you.

Meanwhile, we are just finishing out our month as camp hosts at Larrabee State Park, which has started to quiet down this week after being full for several weeks. Our furniture arrived and is in our new house, but we have no kitchen sink and the plumber just came yesterday to install the toilet which was sitting in the bathtub. Andy, from Ish River Construction and his helper Lucky are in the front yard right now putting in posts for a fence for Winnie, and we just signed a contract to get radiant ceiling heat installed in the house (which did have baseboard electric heat.)

Yesterday we were here late at our new house and saw the nighttime view from the living room for the first time: twinkling lights spread out across the valley below us. It was quite magical, and it's the kind of thing that I love about Bellingham. There are lots of magical moments, like now, looking out the window at mature Douglas fir trees in our yard, and feeling the cool, clear breeze. We met our minister at the Unitarian church this week (he has been on vacation all summer), and I'm thrilled because he gave a great sermon and led the congregation in singing a round. He said that the courage to come to church comes from the hope that the soft side of us will be taken care of there. That's what I think about our journey from Kentucky to Bellingham. I have the hope that the natural beauty, the laid back culture and the progressive political climate will take care of the soft side of us for many years. I hope that for everyone--that we each can find that place, wherever it is, for ourselves.

Loving you as always,


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