Category Archives: Adventures

How Sweet It Is

Milton and Paul Morell
Milton and Paul

It is another cloudy April day in Whatcom County and Milton and I are ready to tackle the eastern part of our map—making the trek across the county towards Lynden. We start at Natures Path and park our car. I’m thinking, “Hey, we’ll get in a couple miles today; maybe even finish our map.”  It was not to be, but more to come on that later.

Milton and I enjoy the pastoral scenery going down Sweet road, and, after a quarter mile, spot a familiar drive way: the home of my Aunt and Uncle Morell. My thoughts turn to the 1995 British film Cold Comfort Farm and the strange magnetism family dwellings can have. I detour into the driveway, chuckling to myself as I do about having seen “something nasty in the woodshed”.

After traversing up the long winding driveway to the front of the house I stop, and hear noises coming from the shop. Milton finds him first. My Uncle Tom is working away, as usual, and informs me that later he will be delivering furniture to my Grandmother at Spring Creek where she lives. We laugh to ourselves at the thought of having to visit my slightly senile, rather inappropriate Grandmother, whose temper tantrums we’ve all endured over the last several months. She calls him Paul, although his name is Tom, and happens to think that he makes for poor company—a feeling she expresses to him quite regularly.

Uncle Tom invites me inside after my request to use the bathroom, and I find Paul, my cousin, sitting in the living room. He is restraining his two friendly (to humans and other well meaning animals) min-pins. Milton and the min-pins have a luke-warm relationship. I keep him under close watch and Paul and I talk. Paul plans to travel to southern China in late summer. I wish him well and discuss the possibility of combining our efforts through Jesus’ Economy. He walks me to the end of the driveway, min-pins in tow.

By this time I’m ravenously hungry, although I haven’t said anything to him. We bid our farewells and I continue down the road. And then it hits me….like a slap to my empty stomach. The air is heavy with a sweet, syrupy smell. I realize immediately what the smell is: Natures Path Chocolate Bars are in production. How can people live on such a road. They must be craving chocolate all the time.

All I know is that thoughts of swirly, drippy, gooey, chocolate syrup were making the last half mile to the car seem annoyingly long.

Until next time, Happy Travels!

Kalene

Blaine’s Best and Least Known Parks

What did I expect to find when turning off Blaine’s derelict portion of Peace Portal Drive onto Hughes Ave? Well certainly not a quaint and classy beach community with expensive views and million dollar houses. And most definitely not the intricate park/trail system that links the Montfort Conservation Land Trust to the surrounding neighborhoods.

I was shocked by the spectacular Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Spit views of Montfort and Bayview Park. The beach access was extraordinary—beautiful, calm and serine. Milt and I were practically unbothered by human contact. We became lost in our own musings (yes, Milton has lots of musings) sitting on the thoughtfully provided and secluded benches. Then, when it was time to return to civilization, we made our exit through garden paths and chatted with park-bordering neighbors. Some even had treats reserved for the dogs on the trail. Milt was delighted.

I thought we had hit the single jackpot on secluded parks, but we found the very same thing down at the Drayton Harbor Kayak Launch: friendly neighbors, secluded and serine beach access, beautiful views.

If you haven’t tried these parks out yet…don’t. Leave the peace and serenity for me—because believe me, I’ll be back.

The view from Bayview Park

Back in Blaine, Baby!

To all those who have been itching for another Blog Walk post, your wait is finally over! Yes, that’s right, Milton and I made the 21 mile trek up to Blaine in continuation of our efforts to walk/bike/hike every road in Whatcom County. Today’s mission was to conquer our Blaine Quadrant 2 East map, which stretches from I-5 to Harvey road W-E and from Boblett to Sweet Road N-S.

I had high hopes as we left Bellingham. The day was clear and sunny. I imagined myself soaking in the rays while the soundtrack of Blaine’s country livestock lowed around me. About Birch Bay-Lynden Road, reality hit me. Actually, a cloud bank thick as soup hit me.

“Well, Milton,” I said, “we’ll just have to press on…and maybe reward ourselves with a mocha afterward.” There’s a little coffee shop downtown that I really love. It’s called the Blackberry House. I would walk through miles of soggy dirt to know that a mocha from the Blackberry was waiting at the other end.

So we started out. And little drops of dew starting clinging to my clothes, but that didn’t daunt our enthusiasm. Neither did the nagging sensation of having to pee or the gnawing hunger growing in my stomach after mile three rolled around. No matter. Milton was chipper as ever—that is until a cow appeared out of the mist right in front of him while a whole flock of previously unseen Canadian geese decided to bark orders above our heads.

His consolation came in finding a piece of old chicken on the side of the road, which he promptly gobbled up before I could yank him away.
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About mile 4.5, I cursed the sun’s pathetic efforts to poke through the clouds and turned towards the car. But not before we completed the whole Quadrant 2 E map! That’s right people. We are on to a new Quadrant. More exciting adventures to come.

Reflections and the Red, Red Robin

Alice Through the Looking Glass

 

What was the human image before mirrors? How did we define ourselves– give meaning to our beauty and gratification to our instincts?

When you look in the mirror, what is it you see? Is it the ghost of yourself or an apparition of something long gone?

I cannot look into the mirror and see what you see when you look at me. I only see my projection, my image scintillate.

 This image is so subjective. It does not tell truth, only partial truths. Like who you are and how you’ve come. Like what you want and how you’ll get it. Like imperfection. Like grace. Like divine imprinting.

When what is inside shines through the glass, will it break?

A metaphysical journey

I was reminded today that words fall hard, weighed down by gravity; that if birds could speak, they would no longer fly. What does this mean to me on a rain streaked day? That unlike Chris, I have long deprived myself an outlet for thoughts themselves. What was so secretive, so discrete? I have no answer. Perhaps the words just didn’t come together until now.

So here I begin my own metaphysical journey–joining the millions of others whose thoughts float around in cyberspace like digital packing peanuts. Or perhaps there is some purpose for this after all, if not for my own gratification.  So, let it begin.

Take Two or Three in Blaine’s Lettered Streets

 

Mom at the Peace Arch

Welcome back to Blaine. It’s day two on my quest to physically travel on every road in Whatcom County. Today’s mode of transportation: foot^2.

My mother was brave enough to join me through endless paths of Halloween- bedecked streets. The craziness of the concept must have intrigued her; although she claims it was “good exercise”. She is–after all–an avid lover of adventure and her fresh perspective did my project good.

So after some grilling she summed up her experience this way, “Blaine is still the back water town where people can walk in the middle of the road; like where I grew up.” Did I mention she grew up in 1960’s Bellingham? Three or four blocks from the YMCA, she could walk there as an elementary schooler for her swimming practice. Also, she could play with her brothers in the street near her house and wasn’t afraid to visit the neighbors. In fact she knew her neighbors (a rather rare concept today).

That sense of community is what she found in Blaine. Consider for example, that the High School is situated right next to the Middle School which is next to the Senior/Community Center and the Boys and Girl’s Club. Right down the street, passing nearly five churches on the way is the food and clothing bank. The city just breathes connectedness.

Turn of the Century House on G St.

Like the kind of place where you can stop and look, and when you do, what you might see are turn-of-the-century houses surrounded by 80-year-old trees with brilliant fall colors. You might also see neighbors smiling as they pass each other on the street or dog walkers taking in the bay at Peace ArchPark. Where the man passing you on the street is not a potential rapist and children can walk to school. What more could you ask for in a city? Even the seagulls seem to find solace on the tops of every roof.

Granted, Blaine (as a border town) does have its share of gang and drug related violence, but I just simply didn’t see this in the lettered streets neighborhood.

I am proud to say that I will miss that area as I move on next week to the heart of Blaine’s historic downtown. So go ahead, take two or three moments in the lettered streets and join me next time.

 

 

Einen Rundgang durch Whatcom Lkr. Tageins: Blaine, WA

Meine Auffassung dieser ländlichen Grenze Stadt hat sich heute verändert, als ich ihre neulich verstädterte Straßen durchquert. Blaine ist in der Nähe meines Heimats–eine Nachbarschaft, die meine kindische Ansicht viele große Ideen über die Eigenschaft dieser wirtschaftlich depressiven Stadt gewähren haben. Sie schien immer auf dem Rand des Zusammenbruchs zu sein, und noch irgendwie gestützt durch ihre Nähe zu unseren kanadischen Vettern. Natürlich entwickelte ich meine eigene Ansicht von den Leuten der Stadt und ihrem versicherten Mangel der populären Tätigkeiten. Ich hatte ja keine Ahnung, dass 10 Jahre später Blaine mich überraschen würde.

Ich trat nicht in einem Ödland des Hinterwäldlers, aber in einer attraktiven und bewährten Gemeinschaft ein. Während ich die Sackgassen der Stadt wanderte, wurde ich von der offenbaren Bewahrung der Kultur und Gastfreundschaft angefahren.

more to come…please feel free to comment.

A Tour of Whatcom County. Day One: Blaine, WA

Blaine Harbor
Blaine Marina Harbor

My perception of this rural border town changed today as I walked its only recently urbanized streets. Blaine is not far from the town in which I grew up–a proximity which afforded my childish mind many grand ideas about the nature of this economic nightmare of a city. It seemed always on the verge of collapse and yet somehow sustained by its close proximity to our Canadian cousins. Naturally I developed my own view of the people in the town and its assured lack of popular activity. Little did I know that 10 years later, Blaine would throw me one of its most unnatural surprises.

I entered what was not a hick-ish wasteland, but an attractive and well established community. While wandering the city’s cul-de-sacs, I was struck by the apparent preservation of culture and hospitality. Numerous houses were sporting Blaine High School colors while friendly neighbors chatted across white picket fences. Children were safely riding bikes along narrow streets and walking to and from the local schools. Many stopped to wave at each other upon passing.

I thought to myself that I would gladly like to return some day–if only just to view Blaine’s unparalleled Pacific harbor. And next time I am lazily waiting in line at the crossing which runs right through the town, I will offer a hat tip to this northern gem.

To find out more information on Blaine, visit: www.ci.blaine.wa.us