A winter bouquet of wild Nootka rose hips, snowberries and salal, all gathered on Center Island, decorates The Nuthatch cabin’s entry.
AFTER MORE THAN A WEEK OF LASHING WINDS, this winter solstice brought peace to our bit of Earth: a calm day of weak but welcome sunshine on Center Island.
Barbara and I grabbed the chance to scoot across Lopez Sound in WeLike, our 1957 Skagit runabout, to go get some fresh eggs from the red house. (A hand-painted sign at the corner of Lopez Hill Road and Center Road says simply “Brown eggs at red house,” with an arrow, so that’s where we go to pick up cartons of fresh eggs the color of creamy cocoa and leave our money in a tin outside. We’ve never seen the chickens or the farmers. It’s simply “the red house.”)
On the way there, WeLike threw us a challenge. The boat’s big Evinrude lost power 100 yards from the Hunter Bay dock. It didn’t stop, it just slowed dramatically, so we were able to creep up to the dock. Probably a clogged fuel filter, possibly easily solved. It meant we used our little 6-horse kicker motor for the return trip. A slower crossing, but we made it.
On our isolated island, we’re welcoming the solstice. The days have been so short. We notice it much more now that whim and serendipity rule our days rather than office schedules and commute times. In practical terms, it means I have less time to chop firewood in the afternoon, or that we have to head home from Lopez by 3 if we want to be in before dark.As seen in our tree-filtered view from The Nuthatch cabin’s deck, the winter solstice sun sets around 4 p.m. over Lopez Sound.
Tonight an all-but full moon will light up the night along with the Christmas lights that decorate our deck rail. Before bedtime last night I stepped out and saw the distinct shadow of our cabin cast by a moon that shone like a locomotive’s headlight in the inky sky above. Appropriately, the December full moon is called the Cold Moon.
Tonight we’re lighting candles and feeding a fire to celebrate the turning of the season. Like ancient Druids, we look forward to the return of longer days. On our little island, sunrise and sunset set the rhythm of our lives.