Field Notes: Friday Harbor on Sunday

On Sunday: an unplanned, last-minute day trip to Friday Harbor (in the San Juan Islands) for a poetry & science symposium thrown by some former teachers of mine, plus a slew of local literary luminaries. Amid the sound-scape, poets and biological researchers gathered in front of a fire to sing sea shanties and such—it was pretty wonderful. Friday Harbor is an epitomic Pacific Northwest landscape: evergreens and madronas (those voluptuous ladies, as my friend Libby says), deer, docks, rocks, and the periwinkle of the Puget Sound.



It’s the kind of place where you feel the need to weave flowers in your hair or skip rocks—really, any engagement of the maritime-pastoral sort. It’s a place of mare nostrum, our sea—a place, much as Rome is, where kindred spirits commune. Beyond the details—beyond the floats of jellyfish, the startled young bucks, the bright bursts of berries, the statue of the chemical structure of green fluorescent protein—it’s quite similar to Rome. I think that there are certain places in the world where you feel more chimerical, and Rome and Friday Harbor are among them. I’m desperately hoping I will find that in Morocco.









I always keep a notebook and pen on me, which was a habit I cultivated in Rome. This Friday Harbor trip filled up my little book with pages and pages of scribbles, of both the serious and silly sort. My favorite part of the whole thing was when my husband Robert won third prize in the poetry competition for a double dactyl penned in my notebook on the ferry ride over (with the assistance of our friend Tyler and me). Robert, as many of you know, is a scientist who works at a biomechanics lab at a university. He’s always been absolutely supportive of my passions… even if he does make fun of me whenever I recite a poem to myself at home. 🙂 In exchange for my attendance at various science lectures and conferences, he’s always game to tag along to poetry readings—and he’s always indulgent of any nonsensical verse that pops out of me. The theme of this sea-symposium—the meeting of poetry and science—seems more than serendipitous. And Robert’s reading was really a personal high for me. I was so proud and so delighted.


Soon I’ll be standing at another sea, perhaps two. For now, I’ll be saying a prolonged farewell to the waters I know. That sounds metaphorical, I suppose, but I mean it literally! Cheers to you, Pacific & Puget, my old friends. And cheers to the new shores ahead!



20 thoughts on “Field Notes: Friday Harbor on Sunday

  1. You are beautiful and you live in such a beautiful place! I also keep a notebook with me at all times. I have so many ideas that I lose if I don’t jot them down right away. Must be a “writer” thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Genna! 🙂 I do love it here a lot. I feel like that’s partly why I need to leave for a few years–I’m taking all this PNW glory for granted! When I come home again from a different landscape, I think I’ll be able to truly appreciate it. 🙂 P.S. writer-teacher-adventurers unite!! ❤ ❤


      1. Wahhh you’re a teacher too? Hahaha we were destined to meet on social media! And you know, I feel the same way you do. I think I probably take Florida for granted (nature-wise, at least). I wonder if I’d miss it, though… I’m not sure. Where are you planning to go next?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s amazing! I’m so excited for you and your adventures, and I cant wait to keep up with them on your blog!


    1. It’s no tropical paradise or magnificent Mediterranean shore, but the Seattle waterfront has its own charm! It was a really lovely day. I hope your weekend was wonderful too, Lena! 🙂


    1. Yep yep, for a year and 5 months about! 🙂
      And yes, the San Juan islands are such lovely places for day tripping. I adore living in the busy city, but sometimes I just need to get away and breathe fresher air for a while! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Jenny!!!! ❤ Hehe, it really meant a lot to me that he put so much effort into writing and reciting his poem because it means a lot that he's endlessly supportive of my passions. So much yay. 🙂 I hope your birthday weekend was the best thing ever (I'm loving your vintage faire posts!), and that your week is going great so far! Love you!


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