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.
This is my fifth go around of the Bible. God stopped me short in I Samuel and said, “Listen, don’t you think you’ve done enough surveying? It’s time to dig deep.” So…I dug–right into the coronation of Saul.
Now, the challenge was: to be able to recite/retell the whole story of 1 Samuel up to the coronation of King David. I’ve been working on this for the past couple of days and getting as far as Jonathan and his armor bearer’s defeat of the Philistine garrison.
Then today, when preparing for my morning devotional, I decided to go aside from the Lord’s plan for my devotions and branch out of 1 Samuel.
The result: after using a random number generator to produce a random Biblical page location, punch in the numbers in my Kindle and go to the page, I end up in 1 Samuel. Guess where? The passage with Jonathan and the armor bearer.
The moral: just do what God says the first time and save yourself the trouble.
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.
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.
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.
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.