It started when I was young, growing up in a small town with direct access to the ocean, in the upper left corner of the United States. My family had a small boat, and we'd spend weekends in the summer together out at sea. We'd drop crab traps in the water and head towards our favorite spot on Lummi Island, lovingly referred to in my family as "Magic Island". There, we set up camp. A small fire, paper plates and other picnic supplies. As my father got the fire going, he'd send my sister and I off to explore the island in search of firewood. Sometimes we'd find ourselves up near the cliff that overlooked the ocean, it had a steep drop, but the risk was worth the reward, as the view was so spectacular that I can still remember how it took my breath away. The sheer vastness of the water, as it spread farther than my eyes could see. I can still hear my father warning us not to get too close to the edge, as he pulls us away from the water and closer towards him.
I always noticed how happy my dad was as he looked at the water, and it made me happy too. We'd all sit there quietly, my sister, my father and I, staring out and admiring the ocean. With the implicit understanding that ocean time was quiet time, a moment allowing for a brief pause in conversation. A time for us to all collectively appreciate what nature had provided us with. I don't know what he was thinking about but it doesn't really matter, because he was stoic and silent and strong, just like the ocean. When it was time for lunch we'd roast hot dogs over the open fire and then move on to s'mores. Competing with each other to see who could roast the perfect marshmallow. The goal was a marshmallow just lightly kissed with a golden color. Not too much, so that it was burnt, and not too little, for fear of leaving it cold and flavorless.Read More