Where is my island?
Almost as far west as you can go
and still be part of the lower 48.
Father north than Victoria BC
which is more west.
While off to the east,
the mainland pokes up
a distant view,
a world away.
There are no stores on my island,
No post office.
To get here, you can only come by boat.
And that is how you leave.
Orcas is less than a mile away.
Orcas, with roads, stores, schools and churches
for when you need them.
Orcas people think they are remote,
Where is my island?
In San Juan county,
acounty of islands.
There’s not a single stoplight in the county
but lots of navigation markers.
If we called the sheriff and he chooses to come,
he would come by boat.
If we called the EMTs (No cell phones)
one of us would have to go get them
in our boat
leaving the other bundled in comforters.
We have power, land phone lines
Carried in cables under the sea.
No need of outhouses, kerosene lamps or warm beer.
With DSL computers, copier/printer/scanners…
It is pretty state-of-the-arts.
Our sea has kelp holding fast
where small salmon hide.
Rock crabs feed the raccoons.
Shrimp, cod, salmon and crabs
all caught in season.
Deer and raccoons are our year-round neighbors,
at times as annoying as human kind.
No squirrels, no rabbits, mice, nor rats,
nor any snakes have we.
Bald eagles, ravens, or winter owls make short work
Of any who arrive with in the holds of boats.
Our raccoons and deer have ancestors
who swam the channel after “ought four.”
In 1904 a slash fire jumped the pass from Orcas.
Obstruction Island burned.
Fire scars twenty feet high still blacken the bark of huge firs
and standing snags.
Under the benevolent eye of towering old growth,
the land has taken a slow century to recover
with 100-foot, 100-year-old firs,Doug and white,
bushy cedar and fluffy hemlock.
Huge-leafed maples turn golden in the fall
as do alders in damp hollows.
Shore pine scraggle on the eastern edge;
Madronas cling to cliffs on steep western slopes.
Our understory is blanketed with moss,
pierced by Oregon grape and salal,
while stinging nettles and foxgloves
cluster in glorious, dangerous patches.
Where exactly am I?
In a delightful compound of cedar-sided buildings–
main house, studio, bathhouse, shop,
climbing tower, woodshed, dock,
— turned to burnished copper by the sun’s setting rays.
On 4 acres of semi-tamed wilderness,
almost 400 feet of shoreline,
240 feet above the water,
On a 220-acre tree-crowned rock
shared by 47 other (fair-weather) owners,
30 summer cabins,
several dozen buoys,
70 acres in the center untouched,
an island-wide water system and
7500 gallons of catchment of our own.
Where am I?
© 2008 Caroline Buchanan