Life in the slow lane is just fine for me.
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Life in the Slow Lane
My mom, and dad (who had passed away in 1969 when I was 16) visited the city of Seattle in 1962. Never being ones who liked to fly, even though my dad was the Santa Barbara airport commissioner, they always took the train when they traveled. My first trip to Seattle was back in the early 1970’s with my mom and brother. Mom remembered how Daddy and she disembarked the train, got in a cab at the King Street Station, and asked the driver to get them to the Space Needle and back in 45-minutes. The driver said he could do it which I doubt could ever be done now. Mom recounted how anxious she was that the train was going to leave without them when the cabbie dropped them off, and how they ran through the station to jump on board breathlessly just as the train was about to pull out of the station. She told us that their sleeping car attendant didn’t think they were going to make it either!
I loved the idea of living in the northwest amidst mountains and green trees and, a few years later after receiving my BA at a university in California, I moved north to a small island in the Puget Sound for a summer. I lived in a tiny A-Frame cabin nestled in tall evergreens with sliding glass doors that looked west to snow covered Olympic Mountains and awakened each day to the smell of cedar, spruce, and fir, and cool moist air on my face. Each evening I reveled in the beauty of blazing northwest sunsets. I was hooked. It was summer, I was in love, and everything seemed perfect. I returned to California for a masters program hoping to come back to that life when my degree was complete, but his life and mine moved in different directions.
A few years later in 1978, I married and in 1980 made the move to Washington with my first wuzband and our daughter, but it was not to that sweet slower life I envisioned. We moved to the big city…Seattle. At the time, it was the right place to be as our daughter needed medical care and various therapies. My life was spent driving from one appointment to the next up and down I-5, and across Lake Washington on 520 and I-90.
After the marriage broke up, I contemplated moving back to Santa Barbara but headed to the Olympic Peninsula instead. When asked by folks how I ended up out here my answer is, “a man.” I spent nearly twelve years with that man, who became wuzband 2, during which I bought land with a cabin where our wonderful son was born on a snowy night, had a big garden, built a lovely post and beam house, and had the rural northwest life of which I had dreamed. But dreams come to an end and unfortunately so did ours. Now there were more moves; to a tree house, a blueberry farm, and back to the cabin for a time. As I am not one who has tools and skills in the area of fix-it and build-it like he did, a house in town was the right decision for me, and in 1999 I bought the little house where I live now.
A few months after that move, I found myself being courted again by a man who lived in Seattle. We married in 2001. Life with wuzband 3 meant going back and forth to the big city a lot as his work was there. In 2006, when my son headed off to university, I made the move to Seattle to live with him full-time. In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better to keep ours a two-city marriage, a story for another time, but not giving up my little home during that final marriage was one of the best decisions I ever made as when we parted in 2009 I had a place to retreat.
After that split, I continued to teach pie making workshops in Seattle near Pike Market and again spent hours commuting back and forth. Those travel teaching days were long and exhausting and after a year of that friends with extra rooms kindly let me stay with them on weekends. I heard of a little house in West Seattle that was coming up for rent, jumped on it, rented my sweet Port Angeles cottage to a friend whose marriage had just dissolved, and returned to the city full time. For a year and half I taught three and sometimes more workshops a week while also working full time managing the website and social media for a company that kindly allowed me to work remotely…even from France where I held Pie Camp. When my renter gave notice that she was moving on to a place of her own, I decided to come back to my cottage hoping that pie-folk would follow me out here to learn…and they did and still do for which I am grateful.
Each period of time I spent in Seattle presented opportunities; my daughter received exemplary and much needed medical care in the early 80s, my introduction into the Seattle food world in the 2000s, and the pie making workshops that took off first locally and then nationally starting in 2009 which I still teach to this day both in-person and virtually.
But, I love a slower life and that is what the Olympic Peninsula gives me. I cherish the friendships I have made here…some of which I have had for nearly 40 years now and some new, of knowing neighbors and making them friends, of being a part of this smaller community, of knowing that without the hassle of big city traffic the drive across my little town will take about ten minutes more or less each way.
On occasion I do go to Seattle, but it’s just so much easier to walk on the ferry right down the hill from me that goes to Victoria, British Columbia. There I spend a lovely day walking by Parliament and The Empress Hotel, heading to Murchie’s for tea, Munroe’s for a look at what’s new in Canadian books, buying a special handkerchief or tea towel at the Irish Linen Store to give as a gift, and admiring the lovely gardens that seem to be everywhere. When I board the boat at the end of the day to head back to the Olympic Peninsula, I see a sunset to the west over the water, beautiful mountains to the south…now once again covered in snow…and the lights of my little town nestled beneath them, and I breathe a sigh of peace knowing that it is here that I’ve found home…in the slow lane.
For paid subscribers, I’ll be posting a recipe for Slow Speed Soup tomorrow.
Song for Today:
The Slow Lane by Jimmy Buffett
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