Note: I apologize. There was a time, not so long ago, when I rarely left the house without my camera. Technology has made me lazy. I even thought about taking my trusty SLR with me, but walked out without it. Got your phone, you’ve got your camera, I thought. But alas, the photos are not nearly so beautiful. None of the crispness and clarity of my Nikon. So, while I snapped away today, the photos here are a real disappointment, for me…. still, given the day, there weren’t many bad shots.
^^^^ At Play. Did I mention that Smart Guy is really tall, and I am actually a fire hydrant?
I started out writing an entirely different blog today… something I’d been writing in my head for days. It will have to wait. Instead, the sun came up; the sky was blue; Smart Guy had a day off (and hadn’t scheduled several other things), and we got one of those magical days, that reminds me (even more) why I am so grateful to live where I live. It was a “Pinch me, I must be dreaming day.” It started, however, as many things in our house do: over-thought, master-minded, a power play. By day’s end, we were all winners.
Smart Guy can’t sit still. He just can’t do it. If he’s not at work, there’s always a project to be done; always something to fill the time. To be clear here, he is super athletic and really likes to get out and hike, mt. bike, road bike, run, or do any number of other studly things that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to do with him. If he’s not doing that, then there’s organizing, cleaning, “stuff” to do at home. I’m often not inclined toward that either… So, when he told me yesterday that he had Friday off, I kept quiet and waited to see what the weather would do. Herein is where the over-thinking, master-minding and power-playing began.
Weather is an issue with us. Yes, weather. I do not like to “check the weather,” almost never. Smart Guy and I have a long standing battle over this. He checks the weather Every day, no matter what. He checks the forecast for today, tomorrow and next week. I do not. He then likes to tell me what he has found, and I tell him (every time) that I don’t want to hear it. I don’t like to think about what the weather may be like; I don’t like the anticipation. Surprise me. Let’s call a spade a spade, all those jokes about forecasts are not exactly out of nowhere. They’re often wrong. Weather changes, and around here, often and quickly. So, I do not like to check the forecast. Stop: I know; there are times when you need to know. If we are going back packing for a few days, I too want to know what the weather will be. If I’m going skiing on Baker, I want to know if it will be my kind of ski day (blue bird, no wind, perfect snow) or his (tons of powder, more falling). However, on a day to day basis, I really like to be surprised. I like to wake up, and see what’s out there… not anticipate it and then be frustrated when the blue skies don’t come, or the rain does, or the sun pushes me out into an adventure. I don’t mind Smart Guy
obsessing about the weather; he’s a detail person. However, I despise that he insists on telling me what he finds, even when I’m plugging my ears, and singing loudly “I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, la, la, la!” He’s so immature about this subject.
When I came across an article by Pico Iyer, a couple of years ago, that not only supported, but celebrated my view, I figured I’d won. How could Smart Guy argue with Pico? The opening line of the article reads: “Not knowing the future helps Pico Iyer keep his hyperactive mind at bay. Then, whether it snows tomorrow or dawns radiant, every moment is a happy surprise.” Exactly! Clearly he was speaking directly to me, with the “dawn’s radiant;” in fact, the article pretty much sums up my views perfectly! I willingly admit to a hyperactive mind; and I love surprises. The rest of the article (do read it, when you’re finished here) speaks right to me, not just because I appreciate most things Pico Iyer says, but because I aspire to much of what he says (especially) in this article, and live by many of the same beliefs.
So, yesterday, when I heard that Smart Guy had a day off, I ignored the few tasky ideas that came out of him, nodded absently and began to plot. “Let’s go to La Conner,” I suggested as he organized himself for the next morning. La Conner is a wonderful little town, about 40 minutes from where we live. If it’s a nice day, it’s heaven on earth. If it’s raining, it’s still pretty cool… but not my first choice, so I didn’t push. I hadn’t checked the weather. “Hmm, we’ll see. I have a meeting in the morning, down in Skagit… seems silly to drive down there and then drive down there again,” he answered, absently. He was distracted and I knew he wasn’t taking my suggestion very seriously. I stayed quiet, plotting. My plan was already forming and I opted to wait and see how the day looked. What the weather would be.
When I pulled back the room darkening curtains Friday morning, voila! One blue sky morning and a determined moi (a French day, clearly). When Smart Guy got back from his meeting, he immediately talked about some hikes we might do…”Um, I’d really like to go to La Conner. It’s a perfect day for it.” He was stumped. I wasn’t exactly asking; I didn’t offer much wiggle room. I could finesse it here, make myself look better, but I think my tone offered no other options. I’d thought it through: he wouldn’t be sitting still, and I was going where I wanted
for a change. Win/win.
The drive down was spectacular! The air was cold and crisp, offering crystal clear views of the Olympic Peninsula, the Canadian coastal range, the San Juan Islands to the West, and Mt. Baker at each twist in the road. I live for days like this! I feel like Dorothy, clicking my heels: There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. Not a single regret about moving here ten+ years ago. Not a single one. The fields in Skagit county were all freshly plowed, waiting for tulips to begin popping up, and the tulip festival in two short months. The trumpeter swans have begun to arrive and we saw flocks of them, stretching their long, snowy necks in the warm sun. I love farm country. I love that you can see the mountains all around you, and the islands as well, while driving through this farm country. We live in one of THE most beautiful places on earth and on a day like today, it shimmers at every turn. It makes me giddy. (Mt Baker shining in the background, all day.)
We went straight to Calico Cupboard for lunch. A salad would have been wise, but Monte Cristo and shared bread pudding. How could a club sandwich, dipped in egg and grilled in butter be anything but great? It was yummy. Amazing, with the sun shining, on a spontaneous road trip. We popped into the shops
I we like, looked at art, stopped in to the wood store he we like so much… we took our time, and we soaked up desperately needed vitamin D. There are few places where you can shop and look out at the sail boats, 200 feet away. Brilliant; it was simply brilliant. No big crowds, because it wasn’t a weekend; few tourists. It was La Conner at it’s best.
^^^ View from the changing room… ahhh.
On the way home, we drove to Padilla Bay Sanctuary and walked 4 miles, along the water. The birds were amazing today. We spotted a bald eagle chasing down a tern… diving and swooping, like fighter pilots. For those of you who don’t see bald eagles often, they are amazing birds in the wild. In our area, they are so common that I have friends (who will remain nameless) who laugh when I get excited over them. “Oh, look a seagull!” Someone I know says, each time I thrill at seeing an eagle. Fool. The isn’t a seagull isn’t our National icon. I never get tired of them. They are enormous, majestic and stunning to watch… today, we pulled the car over to watch the spectacle over the fields. Along the Padilla trail, the water and sky competed for blue. The islands, marsh grasses and rotting pylons were beautiful contrast. The salty air, the sparkling water… Pinch me, I kept thinking… it felt so good, to feel that good.
Final stop was Bow-Edison, my favorite one block town anywhere. The childhood home of Edward R. Murrow. The Edison Cafe has all kinds of memorabilia from his early days, and his time in high school. The small town is literally one block long and has some of the most wonderful galleries and food, per square foot, anywhere. Whimsy in every garden, at every door; art and lovely things in each window; it is a magical, little town, that always makes me smile. We can’t pass through without stopping at the Farm to Market Bakery, for Smart Guy’s favorite lime soaked polenta cakes. I’m a pecan bar girl: win/win. Giddy: I felt giddy all day, silently in my hyperactive mind. Outwardly, I felt a happy calm that has been missing for weeks now. Surrounded by all the things that I love, in nature: the sea (the Sound, but same thing), the mountains, farms, color and textures, sunshine and art, made for a perfect day. There really isn’t a single thing I would have changed. (Bow-Edison: these are a few of my favorite things)
<— (This isn’t even the best turn out, but there isnt’ really a bad view on Chuckanut Drive.) Driving back along Chuckanut Drive: close your eyes (or click the link) and imagine a winding, twisting road, that hugs the cliffs and looks out through the Madrones (also called Arbutus, and one of my very favorite trees) at the shimmering water; with shards of light cutting between the islands. It is the perfect drive to take, at the end of any day. Happy, happy, joy, joy! When we came in and the kids said, “How was your day?” I answered “Perfect.” When they asked one minute later, “What’s for dinner?” I simply smiled. Pinch Me.
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