One Year on the Road

Whidbey Island

On Wednesday, we left Bessie tucked safely away in Tobi’s driveway and took the ferry to Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, where our old friends, Claire and Marsha, live. These are our oldest friends (I’ve known Claire since 1977), and visiting them always feels like coming home. We were even married in their house last year.

View from Langley on Whidbey Island.

View from Langley on Whidbey Island.

Kate and I were still dragging tired, and poor Marsha was in the throes of a bad cold, so we had a low-key visit as only very good friends can do: lolling about, napping, eating, watching tv… On Thursday, Kate and I went into town for Nyquil and OJ, and to walk around a bit.

Langley is such a perfectly quaint coastal village. Appealing to tourists, but so clearly a warm, laid-back community of creative people. There were still banners up for their yearly Mystery Weekend event, in which much of the town gets involved. An elaborate mystery is presented for participants to solve (anyone can join in), and townies don wildly creative costumes and persona. Kate and I joined in one year, and I was so impressed by it all.

That night we all watched “The Good Lie” on TV. It’s a moving film about orphan war refugees who walked over 700 miles from South Sudan to Kenya for safety and the lucky few who were sponsored to come to the U.S. before 911 closed that door.

Sunrise view from the guest room

Sunrise view from the guest room

I woke the next morning from a disturbing dream and opened my eyes to a pre-dawn landscape. Deep pink silhouetting mountain peaks across the bay, twinkling lights at the shore line, and the softest pink undulating on the water. No sounds at all except the call of seagulls and the occasional high whistle of an eagle.

How is it I am so lucky? My life has not been without its struggles, and each of our kids has faced hardships that wrench a parent’s heart. Yet here I am, watching an incredible sunrise on the bay from bed, soaking up the warmth and comfort of good friends, beginning an entire year of leisure and adventure. I couldn’t help but replay scenes from the last night’s movie in my mind and wonder on the fairness of life. I am lucky.

I made a promise to myself to always remember that. To soak up each day of this year like the gift that it is, and to be grateful for every moment of it. Even the hard ones.

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