Friday, February 17, 2017

Philosophies in the Fog

It is easy to forget that the world exists when sitting on Union Wharf at 7 am...when all that is visible is the fog. The sounds of the morning seem muted, as if even the water caressing the shore knows that this is a time of peace. I hear the call of the gulls, but I can't see them. I think perhaps they are telling me to take a closer look. Not at the world around me, but at the world within. I pay heed and start to think about where my life is right now and where I want my life to be. Right now, as it happens and as I have just recently mentioned, I am on the dock living in the moment.

It is easy to live in the moment when surrounded by a cloud; memories from times of happiness, times of sadness and even times of indifference flow into my mind. This causes a chuckle because those are just memories from last week! Do your thoughts flow like that? Join me in the early morning on the dock someday, and we can compare notes. We don't even need to talk, the sounds of the water and land can be our only conversation. I allow my mind to wander further...Does the rest of the world exist right now? Is it just me and the seagulls overhead? Where do I stop and they begin? From previous experience, I know this answer will become hard to decipher as the fog burns off and the business of living the day is in full swing. But this is what I have learned during my visits to the foggy bay: I don't stop where you begin. Because we are alive, because we are living, we are connected. My interaction with life affects not just myself, but everybody alive today and in the future.

 I pedal by you on the sidewalk, you glance my way and then tell a friend at lunch about the goofy looking guy on the pedal taxi, and that person goes home and tells a spouse about what you saw...The chain keeps going...You liked my top hat, so you buy one similar to it at a store in town, and the money you spent contributes to the success of that business. You created another link in the chain that we are all part of. How strong will this chain be when my time on the dock is over? When I step onto the boat that paddles me through the final foggy morning of my life, will the chain that my children continue to be strong, or will it break under strain? Just like the chain on my pedal taxi, the chain of all of our connections needs to be strong and flexible. When the gears of stress pull, I hope that my contribution to this world and all the links I have built are durable enough to allow others to keep pedaling smoothly.

The fog is slowly lifting. I can hear the soft murmur of other voices on Water Street as the business open their doors and folks begin searching for the perfect cup of coffee or just the right souvenir. I can see there is more to this world than me. I am going to get back on the pedal taxi now, and I hope when you see me pedal by, you will smile and tell your friend over coffee about how we are all connected, building the same chain and pedaling through life together. Hey, the seagulls will appreciate it. 

Grymm Dupp

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Where is Walmart?

When we walk the streets of Port Townsend, it is easy to see the past. It really does not take much of imagination to picture it as it was in 1889 when the dreams of an enthusiastic community forever changed the skyline of this fair city. There are other towns between Port Townsend and the Pacific Coast, but none has worked harder to keep shadows of the past alive.
Sequim has slowly churned up its empty fields and sown the seeds of strip malls and fast food joints. What was once a two lane road through a sleepy downtown is now four lanes of progress and off ramps that funnel you into shopping centers without character. Port Angeles with row upon row of treeless lots with non-scrip houses set back from the sidewalk looks no different than other towns of the same size. Driving a giant grid of blacktop that takes you to your destination, but with nothing to see and wonder about. One block looking like the next.

Our past is still alive
Port Townsend offers something a bit different. You can't drive uptown without going up and down hills and twisting lanes. I dare you to find a block where every lot or every house looks the same. From small two bedroom average looking to old Victorian mansions, Port Townsend has it. I have nothing against the little house with the chipped paint, and moss covered roof, even they add character to Port Townsend. The large houses with all windows and white trim to the small house with a sag to the roof show the ebb and flow of good times and bad the City of Dreams have gone through. We did not erase the past with wrecking balls to make room for cookie-cutter lots that all look the same.

When I hear a complaint that Wal-Mart is so far away, or Port Townsend needs an (insert box store here), I say move. Move to where the ordinary is the norm. So many towns have changed because people moved to them and wanted what they left behind. Most that move here because we are so "quaint" or "lovely" want to keep it that way. Sure, there are some that want to see change, but there are more of us that want to keep it the way it is. I sometimes miss the convenience of shopping at a big store surrounded by... wait for it... more big stores. What I don't miss, is the plain buildings, the dull neighborhoods and the masses of people rushing from one stoplight to the next. Everybody in a hurry to wait.

We used to be called the City of Dreams. That place where many had visions of railroads and shipping. A town filled with commerce and money flowing from fountains for everybody to dip their cups into. They dreamed of progress and built this city from the ground up with an eye to the future. A future that we don't live in now. If those that laid the foundations of
this town achieved what they were after, we would be living in what looks like Seattle now. I for one am glad they failed. I honor them for what they built and take significant pride in saying I live in Port Townsend, and I would not be able to do that if things would have gone as planned. We are not that far removed from those that envisioned a city paved in gold. Some of us can even point to our grandparents and say they helped create where we live today. Now it is our turn to create and to drive the steam engine of progress into our future.