Back where a friend is a friend. Is that how the old song goes? Well, it is true. I find myself back in the Skagit again, with Song Sparrows chirping outside my window, Northern Flicker’s piercing call in the distance, and chickens clucking in the yard. The sun is shining, so I know I am no longer in Southeast Alaska when I wake up in the morning. And vehicles of every shape and size are barreling down highway 20 to unknown destinations.
As it is moving month, I feel it a propos to reference Tolkien. There are moments in Lord of the Rings when Frodo knows he will not ever return to the Shire completely in body and spirit, for he has been forever changed in his travels.
While I have not summited Mount Doom nor rid the world of evil, I can feel I am different, that the Skagit is no longer my home. I have taken a great leap north, and my future lies in the landscape of Alaska. It took many years to finally initiate this change, and now I am riding a great wave to the north, beyond which I can only imagine.
The Himalayan blackberries have won a long, drawn out battle over the dogwood tree that I planted for my grandfather on the eve of my upper Skagit wedding. In fact, one would hardly recognize the image in photos, for every corner captured on film has been covered by creeping, cascading thorn and leaf covered stems. The great triumph is the tender, yet stalwart redbud that, though enveloped, continues to rise above the thorny mass, reaching toward some unknown realm in the sky.
On a more humorous note, I left the house on an errand yesterday, and I kept myself amused with conscious efforts to keep from waving at every vehicle passing from the opposite direction. My hand would instinctively rise to the top of the steering wheel and remain there, poised to wave, until I became aware of this movement and slowly lowered it to its perch at the 9 pm stance.