The Yellow Jacket in Sequim

deckSitting here on my deck in Sequim, Washington. Birds calling. Wind rustling the trees. In the distance, the sound of children playing. I feel like I am at summer camp.

I’m stepping outside my writing shed to write this morning. It’s more of writing shedish right now. I’ve cordoned off a section of the workshop building in the property we have leased for our initial entry into Sequim.

Outside the writing shedish

Outside the writing shedish

A yellow jacket that had managed to find its way into the building flung itself over and over into the window I sit in front of, seeking a way out. I had left the door open to my writing shedish, but the yellow jacket did not seem to find it—or even seek it out. I suspect it was fixated on its exit strategy—a closed window that offered a false promise.

Lesson learned from yellow jacket: when our efforts are foiled, look for other possibilities.

We have been here a little over a week now. I don’t know whether it’s the air, the spirit of the Northwest, the decision we made to change, or a combination of all of the above, but last Sunday, as we drove along Sequim Bay, it hit me: possibilities. They have grown exponentially since we landed here.

It’s a clean slate. We brought lots of boxes, but left behind baggage we no longer needed—the ghosts of people we loved, whose lives ended before we could fix what was left unfinished. Unfinished for us.

That’s the thing with life. It’s finite. But relationships are infinite. They continue in us. It’s up to us to make of them what we will—take what is ours and leave what was theirs to those who have finished living. Not an easy thing to do. Some love is unrequited for eternity for us. It’s the imperfection in the tapestry that lets life through.

Perhaps that is maturity. Accepting the love that was expressed, mourning for that that can never be.

I started this blog to change my story, to find the story that was mine, not one that was given to me. Our move to Sequim is the blank page in the story I am discovering.

Our front yard

Our front yard

We are leasing for nine months. It feels like a vacation home. Or more, a retreat. For me, a writing retreat. Instead of searching for community, my task is my writing.

Beans and Meatballs and the Pink Stuff is my current project. It’s a personal narrative about me and three women who had an impact on me: my mother, Sally Binford, and Jeanette Harris. All were born in the first quarter of the twentieth century: Jeanette, three years before women had the right to vote; my mother and Sally entered the world when that right was four years old.

All of us, in some way, were taught that, like the yellow jacket, the window we saw out of was our only possibility.

I’ll know more of what to say about that as the story unfolds.