A visit the Oracle of Delphi was never about looking for an answer, but rather trying to understand the question.
I recently had the chance, the very pleasurable opportunity to reintroduce my island to an absentee of some twenty years or so. Their visit was to be short, perhaps twenty-four hours, so with an intensity of reappraisal almost beyond equal. Naturally I listed particular points of interest, sights beyond compare, premises that should never be missed, all with the intent of producing a marinade of the Orca essence that keeps me chained like some modern-day Prometheus to her rocky shore. That Prometheus’s confinement was obligatory whilst mine is utterly self-imposed is a wholly moot point. The touristy part of the reevaluation was particularly successful, the island as always presenting herself in undeniable glory, Orcas ability to present a new and equally beauteous face each and every day never ceases to enchant me.
We first toured the beaches, particularly Crescent beach which I find ever enthralling with its variable colors, textures, wildlife and of course surreal driftwood constructs plucked direct from a Dali canvas.
Next on the agenda was a ascent of Constitution, a piece of real estate that is unique in both appearance and its very existence, dropped seemingly haphazardly amidst an island that is superficially anything but typical mountainous terrain. The views from the summit were of course spectacular, although the glimpses of the still snowcapped mainland mountains in the far distance were somewhat obscured by cloud. The descent of Mount Constitution Road is always an exciting prospect due to the oft appearances of calendar worthy sea and island panoramas.
The boating and swimming area of Cascade lake was next stop with its wonderful ambience, quite as picturesque as any of the alpine lakes of Europe in my perhaps somewhat prejudiced view. The feel and general look of the place reminds me unfailingly of Lake Bled in Slovenia, another one of the worlds truly magical environs. Naturally no trip to Cascade can miss out on an introduction to our very own Ice age survivors, those impossible freshwater chinook salmon, the kokanee.
A stop at Rosario resort to book a table for dinner and of course to thank Robert Moran for his exceeding wonderous gift of land to Washington state parks, completed a tour of my end of the island. Time allowing I would have liked to visit Olga, particularly now the reclamation of the old post office is in place, but we are after all still in the midst of wintertime and afternoon naps are of great necessity in my dotage.
Dinner in the Rosario bar area was excellent, of very good value and quite the same highlight it has ever proved. Having had to endure, by no fault of their own, a more than extreme turnover of catering staff it is very welcome to note the premise has bounced back to the forefront of island eateries. Do try the pizza Margarita, it is superb, as are the mussels.
Good food, delightful ambience, excellent wait staff, do please keep my table open for many happy returns.
Deep and meaningful conversation is inclined to follow good gastronomy. Sure enough my delightful guest and I soon found our way down the rabbit hole that leads to that most unique of subject matters, island life.
Orcas is in my opinion, and a very personal opinion it might well be, a place of very diverse opinions and attitudes. Superficially very liberal, but with an undercurrent than can at times seem to be slightly to the left of the inquisition. I have in my life lived in cities, towns, villages and hamlets, on mainland’s as well as on islands, each conglomeration type having universal rules and rituals as well as some very individually specific, the same logic applying to area designations. A mainland village is as different to an island village as a city is to a hamlet.
My life experiences led me to believe I could fit in anywhere with some ease; however Orcas soon erased that veil of self-illusion. Here is a place that lives, breathes, walks and talks with the consummate ease of a self-written, produced, directed and performed one person show. Just to add a twist to that statement the Orcas community is filled to the brim with one person shows, each one clamoring for both audience and critical acclaim for each dramatic performance.
My political and social views are bordering upon the anarchistic, Orcas is constantly on the very edge of chaos. I fit the community like a hand fits a well-worn glove, except of course fitting precisely does not suit my anarchic nature so I constantly throw away the old to break in new and shinier ones.
I find Orcas comfortably uncomfortable, calmly irritating, movingly still. An island at odds with its direction, yet with foot as hard down on the gas pedal as will go. I am consummately at home!