Taste of Island Living

We’re on day 4 of our 6 day stay on one of the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington. This is part of the same island chain as Our Island (the one we are planning on moving to as soon as a house becomes available). We’re staying in a cabin at a beachside resort. As I compose this, I’m sitting out on the deck, listening to the waves lapping at the shore, watching the sun set over the islands in the distance.

Being here has given us a taste of what it might be like living on Our Island. I love it. I can’t wait to move.

The roads are “country roads”, lined with thick vegetation that alternates between tall grasses, shrubs, raspberry bushes, and flowering plants and then stretches of cool green forest with tall trees forming a canopy over the roadway. It is very much like the country roads in the areas we were looking at previously for an acreage.

In many ways, changing our plans has not really altered the lifestyle we wish to lead and so is not as dramatic a change as it may seem up front. The feeling of “being away from it all” is still here, as is the feeling of space and privacy between properties. But here is an important “extra” – the ocean. Everywhere on the island you feel connected to the sea, even if you can’t see it from where you are at the moment. You can smell it. You can taste it in the air. And you can hear it.

I love the ocean, having grown up on the coast myself. And even though our home in the city is very close to the ocean, it’s just not the same sense of it as you find here. I can’t even see the sunset from our place because it faces directly North and stares right into another building across the street. There is far too much noise to ever hear the ocean. And the breezes are so blocked and diverted by the scores of highrises in our neighbourhood that you can’t even really smell it all that often,

Here in the island the kids have been roaming around with far more freedom than they’d have in the city. Other than day 2, when I caved in and rented a TV/VCR for 24 hours, the kids have not had any entertainment in the cabin other than a handful of books we brought with us. And yet they have been endlessly busy. The get up and go outside first thing in the morning. Between the beach, our friend’s cabin across the way, and the fishing pond there are so many things for them to see and do. And, as young children do, they find hours of entertainment in the small things like catching crabs or moths.

Yesterday we went into “town” and the kids fell asleep on the way. We left them in the car in the little parking lot of the cafe/art gallery and took turns going out to check on them every few minutes or so. We could never do this in the city, but here we felt very comfortable doing so – there were a handful of cars in the lot, a handful of people eating out on the porch that views the lot, and to get into our car one would set off the alarm – that’s background noise in the city, but here it positively shatters the peace.

I feel that, in the last few days, my kids have had more of a “real” childhood experience than they’ve ever had. There does not seem to be such a boundary between indoor and outdoor, between us and other children, and of course between ourselves and Nature. I am so excited about bringing this lifestyle to our family full time. I can’t imagine why this didn’t occur to me sooner, but then I think that this journey I’ve been on, with all it’s changing plans, has all been a necessary part of that process. I’ve researched and explored all sorts of different living arrangements, from being in a bigger city condo, to being in a house in the city, to being on a rural acreage with a pied a terre in the city, and now to being on an island with easy city access. I can’t say for certain that this represents the end of the journey, but it’s an exciting next step. One I fervently hope we can bring to reality soon. It’s going to be very hard to go back to city living after this week. Thank goodness it’s summer and we have plenty of camping trips planned!

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