With my RV set up in a small town in Washington state and my soul restless, I got in my truck before daylight and wandered for several hours off the beaten path.
I soon found myself in a tiny place, a coastal blip in the road. Blips in the road have long lured the curious traveler. This was a rough blip, far from other towns, tourists, and much of anything at all. It backed into the foggy rain forest hills and looked out upon a small sheltered cove cluttered with seasoned fishing boats.
Bait and beer were the shelf staples at the town store, which was also the fish weigh station. The coffee was wonderful and they kept it coming, even when I wandered out onto the creaking wooden porch in search of poetry.
A cold mist slowly drenched everything. The wind cast the sea about the docks and rows of fish cleaning stations, salt heavy on the air.
They were wary of me. A young game warden drove up and quickly started a friendly conversation about my intentions, clearly summoned.
I lingered half a day before anyone could be coerced to chat. I then heard tall tales about storms, fires, eagles and a bear. “We are the top of the world, can’t you tell?” But then, abruptly, I was told that I should be careful on the winding rain forest road out, an explicit farewell.
Nonetheless, in the dusk I stepped into the small diner to warm up before leaving. I received curt nods, as people kept to themselves.
I had stayed too long. For all their cautious friendliness, I was still the outsider who was expected to leave.
When darkness fell and they drifted home, my light spirit drifted into the darkness as well. I began to feel alone, utterly and starkly alone.
Soon the diner was deserted. Though the hours stated they were open, I suspected they were not.
As I was gathering my raincoat, the damp that pooled in the windowsill and clung to the faded orange/brown curtains with prints from the 1970’s brought a bee to my side.
I shared the salt on my wrist and the cool sips from my water glass. Thank you for seeing me, little one. This lonely outsider needed to feel seen.