June 23, 2011

Help spread the news

THE DAILY BUNGLE informs me that the birds are arriving again. The tufted puffins are back. And if the tufted puffins are back, can the others be far behind? I refer to the burled dimwitts, the ring-necked godsends, the pink-cheeked, bandy-legged snowbirds, the unbridled waterworts, and the wungood terns, each one of whom deserves another.

Yes, the birds are back. That means we can sail without having to de-ice the cockpit. It means the engine will start before the battery goes flat. It means we can have the odd naked arm or leg sticking out from under our bundle of clothes and we can throw our balaclavas in the wash at long last. Oh joy.

For a few months of the year our weather is going to be perfect. The northwester is going to set in and bring us clear skies and long full days of warm sunshine. The Pacific High will guard us against those nasty Alaskan lows that come screaming down the Strait of Juan de Fuca all winter, and the islands will be surrounded by white sails flying every which way. Little boats will be headed for pristine anchorages, towing dinghies with smiling white teeth.

But, to quote a line from one of my favorite poems, life takes from us, alas, our joys and robs us of our blisses. The onrush of ecstasy we experience every June is tempered by the notion that others, dreaded outsiders, will discover our little secret. Most of the outside world knows of the Puget Sound area’s reputation for grey skies, cool temperatures, and persistent rain. It’s a description we all foster very carefully and repeat as often as we can because if outsiders knew how extremely pleasant the Puget Sound was for large parts of the year they would all come flocking to live here, bringing with them their strange customs, their irritating accents, and their ill-gained fortunes. They’d throw their money around, forcing up the prices of everything so that ordinary, common, decent Northwestern folk couldn’t hardly buy nothing at all, let alone a home to live in.

So every year, when the Bungle announces the arrival of the birds, I feel a chill in my heart alongside the joy. The sailing around here is the best in the lower 48. No other cruising grounds compare with the San Juans, the Gulf Islands, and the Inside Passage to Alaska.

I’m always so scared the Californians will find out and rush up here in great waves of immigration. You can’t trust them, you know. Too many of them are weird people. They’re unpredictable. You never know what they’ll do next. And there are so many of them. Years ago, they fired their talented governor, Gray Davis, because he warned them they had to rein in their fiscal irresponsibility. That wasn’t what they wanted to hear. They wanted big SUVs and huge televisions and garages full of stuff. They elected in his stead a body-builder cum actor who cheated on his wife and happily let them continue with their spending spree. Then they went broke. Big surprise.

If you’d like to do me a favor (and I know many of you would, even if it never occurs to you consciously) please tell everybody you know how awful, how desperately dreadful, the weather is in Seattle and the Sound. You can easily do it in a Tweet of 140 words or a longer e-mail. Just spread the message around, will you?

Today’s Thought
California is where you can’t run any farther without getting wet.
— Neil Morgan.

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #213
The rule of thumb is to provide one gallon of water per person per day on an ocean crossing. But half a gallon is adequate (for drinking and cooking only) if it’s supplemented by soft drinks and canned juices.

They held a motorcycle race in Moscow recently. There were just two entries, an American bike and a Russian bike. The American bike won easily.

Next day, the newspaper Pravda reported:

“The Russian bike came second in yesterday’s race. The American bike was next to last.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


Micky-T said...

Anyone who has traveled through 49 of the United States as extensively that I have, knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Northwest is the most beautiful, spectacularly scenic, wettest, cloudiest, drizzliest place in the country.

Anonymous said...

Twitter is 140 characters not words.