...quiet, about a lot of things...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh, The Places You Could Go.....

Summer is the time we go places. Change the scenery a bit, shuffle the deck. I say summer, because I have kids in school, but I suppose that really could be anytime, if you were working only with one schedule.

I have a love hate relationship with vacations. I do love to see new things, to taste new food and walk new streets. I do love to change my routine, step off of the path and reflect. Switch gears.

I find all sorts of new places I'd love to live for a bit. I fantasize how life would be more colorful living among artists. How life would be more relaxed living by the sea. How life could be more gentile living in the south. Or how life would just be plain different, spoken in a different language.

On the flights home, from the places I have been, I try to think of a way to keep the place I have just visited alive in me. But even as the plane wings back towards home, like a big steel homing pigeon, I feel myself letting go off what I was for a week or two to grab back at the comfort of what I am, everyday.

Orcas Island to me is heaven. Really, when I die, God, plunk me right there, please?!?. Let me play with the otters and swim with the seals. Every time I go I love it more. However,by the 5th day, I could sense others in my party going stir crazy. It's not a very big island. There's no Starbucks..(though there is coffee..its not PRIMITIVE or anything.) You could see that originally it was a hippie northwestern island. That is why I love it so much.

For even as the money from Seattle has claimed most of it's private coastline, the center of Orcas is still crunchy. I love the men and their dreadlocks.I love the women and their earth mother skirts. I loved the henna tattoo I got on my ankle at the farmers market. I love the organic vegetables and the hand spun wool. I could live with these people.

That is until I notice, that it is very hard for them to make a living here. They depend, almost exclusively, on the tourists to make their money. Very rich tourists. This is a boutique destination., much smaller than it's bigger (by comparison) cousin..San Juan Island. Less chauchki, more art. More art, more money. More money, less affordable for real people to live.

So there is the cruel truth. I could not afford to live there. Period.

I was invited this time as a guest of my brother and sister in law. We stayed at this incredible house ..and had access to the neighboring incredible house...basically a huge cove to ourselves. Really cool beyond words. The tides, the eagles, the starfish right there to touch..and no huddled masses to interfere what so ever.

So this is what it is like to be REAAALY rich..and live the privileged life. The owners of the one house were off to gather daughter from summer camp. The other estate was owned by a woman who had gone back east to the Hampton's for a party...on her private jet. Her sail boat was moored beautifully to her dock. I sat in one of her Adirondack chairs and wondered what this life would be like. I sat there for a long time. I really couldn't fathom it.

And then it dawned, quietly, that I really didn't want to fathom it. That I was feeling rather selfish on this privileged cove. I felt I was hording the all beauty. This beauty was not mine, by ownership, or theory, to hoard. I wanted to offer it to the girl at the great organic restaurant where I had just eaten for lunch. "Here's the key "...have her and all her pierced friends come down and roast marshmallow with my family that night too. I knew she had never seen this cove,sat in these chairs. She lived here, worked here..She should by All RIGHTS, get to see this. But she wouldn't. This was a private party.

The minute I thought that, I knew the time had come to go home. Home to my house in the wide open spaces of Colorado. Home to a house that is smaller than the guest houses I have just stayed in. Home to where I control the keys and could share whatever beauty I can find, with as many people as I wish. Home to the world of ungated communities and public schools.

I will always be grateful that God gave me a visitors pass to briefly enter this beautiful place, before I die. I just know I don't belong there for now..It wouldn't, couldn't be home, until everyone is invited.
posted by wendy at 8:24 AM

3 Comments:

This is only one of the many reasons I love you.

8/15/07, 9:42 PM  

It is a sad fact that many beautiful places in the world exist only for a few.

I'm glad you feel at home where you are.

8/16/07, 10:16 AM  

I've felt this way too. When my husband occasionally voices a desire to own a big piece of land, my own voice pipes up to say, I'd prefer simply to have access to a lot of land.
Belgium is a densely populated country but it puts a high value on parks and green space and EVERYONE uses them. Young and old and in between. You always see complete families there, not just singles exercising or moms with kids.

We just a bought a new house in America and the selling point for me: it backs up to an enormous park. For that I can suck up a one car garage and a dearth of closets and storage space. A place to feed my soul and be with others while being apart. Perfect.

8/17/07, 11:14 AM  

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