Some thoughts as an offering to my new neighbors: Yes, I’m another transplant with something to say about our glorious home on the Puget Sound. I offer them in the conviction that sometimes understanding and appreciation are realized best when considered from the outside, that even spectacular becomes mundane when constant. I first really began to understand my native California only when I became a Hoosier years ago, and I hope to share my joy in my new home with those who have known it much longer in the spirit of the delighted newbie, mostly wrong in detail but perhaps interesting as a novelty.
My wife reminds me that in many ways, we are city idiots, “citiots.” When we first saw deer ambling across our lawn, we got out our cameras. We struggled to accept the reality of our sunsets and forests, our wildflowers and natural aviary. We’ve gotten a little more engaged, enraged at the destruction of our roses and the constant cleaning of otter scat, but we still stop in our tracks when an eagle soars past. Maybe some of you sometimes catch yourself in childish wonder, even if you’ve been a child here for a long time.
Earlier in our PNW adventure, I was angered by the continuing drama between eagles and crows. Oh, I’ve seen crows, and I have shown them little respect. Watching them harry our glorious national bird gave me a sense of powerless outrage. I wanted to “do something.”
Some of us manage our homes thoroughly. We establish fences between our land and the wild. Technology and hard work can yield productive, safe and beautiful spaces where we can raise our families and do our jobs. The management can be aggressive. One guy I spoke with explained that the humane way to deal with otter scat is to “shoot the #@*ers in the head, not drown them as some do.”
I choose a more negotiated relationship, accepting the nuisance and enjoying their busy company otherwise. My dog and I chase the deer away when we see them, and I am glad of the hunters among us who enjoy the skilled adventure and resultant bounty. My citiot standing is probably showing, and the hypocrisy is plain, but I’m OK with less killing in my life. We’ve still got room here for the very earliest residents and I can only hope they feel the same about me.
I have also enjoyed meeting my neighbors, learning and sharing thoughts, including politics. Forgive my sailing into dangerous waters, but I hope to offer only the broadest observations in the least combative tone.
Some of us are quick to defend our lifestyle from threats real and perceived. Some of us look for change, corrections to injustice, again real and perceived. As I watch eagles and crows I think of the polarized turmoil in my citizenry, sometimes nagging, sometimes dangerous. I comfort myself that the passions just reveal the importance of the struggle.
I am really not sure anymore whether the eagles or the crows deserve my sympathy. I’m pretty sure they don’t care about it anyway, and the Sound is teaching me that each have their place. Whether adaptive and quick to exploit, or strong and somewhat set in their ways, eagles and crows find ways of achieving balance, and here on the Sound, I’ll simply say that balance can be inspirational and stunningly beautiful.
Can we climb out of the squawking of our turbulent times, fly high enough to be inspired and inspire others? Maybe some of the many voices of the Sound will let us know, maybe not, but I’ll enjoy listening for guidance.
Jack Dunne lives gratefully in Lakebay.
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