It Feels Good to be Back

An early morning excursion brings us to the Coupeville ferry terminal, waiting for the next available transport off-island. Having passed the palatial farm estates and rolling fields along Ebey’s Landing, we drive by the glassy water of the National Historic Reserve. Driftwood and large rocks dot the shoreline, and the cool, misty morning conveys a sense of calm and mystery as we wait for the next ferry. A delay in the schedule means a few extra hours in line, but with coffee in hand and car snacks, we are prepared for the wait. In front of us stands a crane, watching the terminal as passengers settle in, the avian guard a majestic image with feathers of soft brown shades and cream. It is a quiet morning, but one filled with anticipation.

Port Townsend has always been an exciting place to visit. The beautiful fishing village is where my ancestors stopped on their way to Whidbey Island. Seeing the majestic cliff lines and the old buildings, I can imagine what their arrival may have been like. I can almost picture them here.

In 2018, we’d made a similar trip to the one we now found ourselves making, journeying from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend on the ferry. We’d discovered a small café by the water and, with warm coffee in hand, had walked out on the nearby pier. That morning in 2018 had been misty, shrouded in fog, and hypnotic. As we stood looking out at the calm water, we’d promised ourselves we’d move up here someday. After that, life became complicated with jobs, graduate school programs, and a global pandemic. Uncertainty was everywhere and a move, let alone a visit, was out of the question. For a while, our dream was on hold, just a glimpse of a memory we had of a beautiful October morning.

It took us some time, but now, many years later, we are here. Standing in the same spot where we had promised we’d be back, I feel the same tug of the heartstrings, the same love for the place, and the same commitment to my ancestral roots that makes this region home.

It feels good to be back.