I don’t want to move out of Port Townsend. As much as I bitch about this town’s funky personality, as annoying as the high cost of living is or the PC White Privilege scene irritates me; or the hidden wealth pretends it’s not there; or the surliness of the local businesses give you shit if you shop there and bitter, vitriolic shit if you don’t (there are notable exceptions to all these abovementioned bitches, of course); and it is always windy and I can’t even find somewhere to get my kids decent, affordable underwear – anyway, as much as all that stuff is fun to complain about there is too much I am not willing to relinquish.
There are my friends. I have many. I love them and they have propped me up through some heavy shit. I love the coffee shops; I love the movie theatre. There is the smell of the sea and the hikes on Fort Worden and my husband and I parking in the hospital parking lot and talking while watching the lights over the town and far away on Whidbey Island. There are choices here: choices in what food to eat, what groceries to buy, and what video store to rent from. There’s the physical locale – I challenge you to find a more beautiful place to live (without forcing me to learn another language). And yes. There are my friends.
My mom calls me today and gets dragged into my domestic crisis (I really can speak at a frighteningly fast pace when it’s something I’m fired up about). She is great to talk to because she cares, she will listen, and she advises. We are in agreement on many things. Yes, we have to do what’s best for the family and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Ralph’s career. Yes, I have set up a wonderful community here for myself. Yes, I could make friends anywhere and could survive in any scene. Perhaps our time here in Eden is over. Perhaps we overstepped our luck to think we could live here, as a single-earner family, and stay for any length of time.
But my son was born not fifteen feet from where I sit. We brought Sophie to this home on her first day in this world. I miscarried in this house, in the bathtub upstairs, with my husband hovering by, worried. I have scrubbed these floors on my hands and knees and fallen into bed exhausted, many a night (even more often I have also stayed awake long past the witching hour and padded through the rooms, barefoot, as my whole family slept). I walk and bike and bus where I need to go (and sometimes I get in the car to drive just a few hundred feet – hell yeah). We have two duck ponds, we have the beach, we have trails in the shade softened by pine needles and loamy earth. In the summer we have a kick-ass hotdog stand and a Drive In and new and exciting flavors at the ice cream shop.
No matter what occurs or where we go, I say a prayer of thanks for my friends and community here. I thank God for my healthy children, the strength of my marriage, and my husband, whose familial loyalty and energy are really inspiring to witness. And I am stronger than my circumstances can overcome. Upheaval may come sooner than we’d anticipated and it may be unwelcome, but it is a necessary fact of life that forges us stronger in the fire.