Dispatch from the San Juans

Generally, Yancey and I don't do a great job of planning leisure time. We're pretty happy hanging around the house, taking the kids on bike rides, taking turns going to yoga. Often, living in Bellingham still feels like a vacation to us and we can't believe our good fortune in living here.

But we managed to plan a few days boating around the San Juans in the little work boat that Yancey and his dad got a few months ago. We hooked up with another boating family and were blessed with 4 days of very uncharacteristic April sun and calm. I've grown up around the San Juan Islands, but could only access them by waiting in long ferry lines. Being able to tie up at little obscure beaches and skim between the islands looking up at Mt. Baker was indescribably sublime. I read Oliver Sacks' On the Move and Garrison Keillor's anthology of poetry. I listened to Yo-Yo Ma on my headphones and took walks around the neighborhoods of Friday Harbor and was full to bursting. That's what this poem is about.

Listening to Yo-Yo Ma on my Morning Walk

Morning walk, the cello suite playing in my ears,
swelling to unbearable tenderness,
makes me want to be a better person,
to notice all the miracles that have been
standing shyly around.

I want to clean my desk,
type the poem I wrote last week,
return the dull phone calls.

And maybe write the first chapter
in the orphan book
living outside the door of my heart,
let it in though I'm terrified
of what it will demand.

The song is over, I pull my earbuds out,
and the vision of a clean desk is already fading.

Lord, you know I'll never be a virtuoso.

You see my great undone-ness,
how asleep I am to this dappled life.

Even so, let me take this day into my arms.
Let me pull its body to mine,
set my fingers on its strings.
Let me play with all the novice enthusiasm
this morning deserves.