We are having some wonderful spring days. I spend a little time almost every day in the garden, pulling up dandelions and buttercups (I never think of them as buttercups when I pull them up — I mutter nasty ranunculus between clenched teeth as I gouge them out of my flower beds). I check the lettuce and peas I planted. Lettuce is up, peas not yet. There is promise of  blossom everywhere. Hyacinths, periwinkle and daffodils already out.

Dafs and hyacinths

Dafs and hyacinths



And fruit blossoms. Perhaps this year I’ll have a pear or two on the tree my lawyer daughter gave me for my birthday a few years ago. Lovely things to anticipate. Tulips and roses are coming soon.

The promise of roses

The promise of roses

My British daughter is visiting soon. I visualize us buying splendid oysters at Barlene’s and feasting on them together. Perhaps she will help me a little in the garden after she chides me for its disorder.

Jerry and I have bought a condo! Out main home will still be on the island, but we will spend some time in the condo when we have appointments in town. We haven’t closed on it yet, but in less than a month I will be figuring out what furniture we can take from here and what I will have to buy. Then Jerry and I will have a tiny new home in town. Bellingham is a minor city (80 thousand people), but still there’s more over there than there is over here on the island. There are restaurants, movies, music, an occasional play.

The condo is in my old neighborhood, next to the park where I used to walk for hours with my late small white dog, Zute. It’s a big lovely park with a creek, a waterfall and a fish hatchery. I’ll show it to Jerry and the poodles.

I will hang a small show of my recent paintings and less recent etchings and relief prints at the wine gallery up the street; the opening is Friday evening, April Fool’s Day. Perhaps I’ll sell a painting or one of my old prints.

And then there’s the ferry, and there’s the rub. I have written about the ferry from time to time in the past. It’s a five minute run from the island to mainland but it’s our lifeline to the world of doctors and groceries. Some island dwellers actually work or go to school over there. The mainland dock is on the Lummi Indian Reservation. The Indians say they don’t want islanders driving through their reservation. They have threatened to blockade the ferry three times in the last 15 months. The next threatened blockade date is April 10.

There have been meetings and negotiations, deliberations in the Whatcom County Council and letters to Senators, Representatives and lawyers. There have been news reports and petitions and angry comments on line. There is an undercurrent of racism on both sides. Island gossip says death threats were made by islanders against those on the island who are trying to resolve the situation and against leaders on the Indian side. People are getting nervous.

Suddenly an invitation was issued by the Lummi tribal leaders to islanders to come to a dinner on the reservation. They want to explain their reasons for what they are doing. In the past they have said that islanders are killing their children with reckless driving. There is actually no truth to this. In the past 20 years only one Indian has died as a result of an auto accident involving an island driver: the man was drunk and lurched in front of the car. The driver was not charged.

There is a lot of hoopla about this dinner. We have been told not to bring food. It is not a pot luck. That would violate the Indian tradition of hospitality. There will be lots of fish and other food. Then an islander who works on the reservation asked her employers whether we might bring pies. She was told that pie would be “very nice.”  I was asked bring one, but, sadly, I don’t do pie.

Islanders will be allowed to ask questions at this dinner if they write them out on a card at the door. Otherwise it looks as if we will not be permitted to speak.

In the meantime, there have been reports in the newspapers of all day negotiations between the Lummis and the County Council. “Progress” has been announced — no details. Monday morning there will be more negotiations. Perhaps by the Monday evening dinner a “settlement” will have been reached and presented to us by the Lummis.

A number of my friends who have been active in the ferry dispute on this side are not planning to attend the dinner. It is said that we will not be permitted to speak. It is rumored that the only Lummis who will be present will be the negotiating committee members and their lawyers. What’s the point of going, my friends say, if only to be lectured to?

I think there will be people present to cook and serve the dinner, and I am guessing that there will be conversation of some sort. I have not been in any building inside the reservation except the gym, and I am curious. I want to see for myself how everybody behaves. There are a lot of strong feelings. I think the event might warrant a blog post.

I suppose the Lummi leaders have planned this as a public relations event. As has happened in the past at meetings of this kind, I expect that some sort of “settlement in principle” will be announced. Everybody heaves a sigh of relief and goes home. Of course, we will be told, there are details to be worked out.

Then, over time, the “settlement” unravels because of disputes over details and misunderstandings over what was settled. Another deadline will be set. And so it goes. I bet this will not be the end of the affair. But I bet the Ferry will keep on chugging across Hale Passage.

The Whatcom Chief crossing Hale Passage

The Whatcom Chief crossing Hale Passage

I’ll keep you posted.

Two Notes off the Subject:

1. Bumper sticker seen at the ferry landing: “If teaching evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.”

2. Congratulations to my Canadian friends on their sane way of conducting elections: announce them 6 weeks in advance. And good luck in getting rid of Harper.

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13 Responses to Anticipation

  1. Marja-Leena says:

    Oh, your garden is ahead of mine but yes, the past week things are coming along a bit more as the weather improves. Every rare sunny day I just want to be out in the garden, isn’t it great?! Must get outside again today…

    Your ferry disputes would drive me nuts. Good idea getting a condo on the mainland (and you’ll be closer to come visit me in Vancouver). Here there is talk of humungous fare increases and cutbacks of services to the smaller islands from our partially privatized BC Ferries, while the CEO pays himself top salary of any CEO here! Guess we won’t be doing so much island hopping in the future.

    Thanks for the last item! We will need all the luck we can get in getting rid of the Harperites!!!

    Much good luck with your ferry issues.

  2. Jan says:

    “Killing our children” sound more like “a child might possibly be hit by a car sometime in the future…maybe.”

    Interesting stand off.

  3. Lucy says:

    Yes, the pied a terre on the mainland sounds a good idea…

  4. Rain says:

    I wish we could work up our garden but it’s still got standing water on it. I want to add more top soil to it this year in hopes that we will get earlier plantings.

    When our kids were in high school, we rented small apartments in town during the school year. We started it one year when our daughter was a junior and had gotten the role of Maria in West Side Story. We thought driving back and forth would be impossible. Then we kept doing it during the school year, with minimal furniture, as it saved the kids (and us) driving the winding country road with all the log trucks to get them into their activities. It was fun for me too to be that much closer to what was going on.

  5. Frances says:

    I would imagine that no satisfactory result will be obtained without goodwill on both sides, or at least the impression of it. Attending the meeting sounds like an expression of goodwill. Rejecting the invitation seems like the opposite, like a snub. That doesn’t seem to me to be helpful in resolving the impasse.

  6. Annie says:

    Lovely spring flower photos and lots of news. The condo sounds like a great idea, hope you enjoy it. Being able to stay in town for special events or just because you’re tired after a busy errand day sounds great. And the ongoing ferry issue sounds so universal as a source of conflict and worry. I think you’re right to go to the dinner just to see.

    The former Newfoundland premier advised voting ABC, Anything But Conservative, and I will certainly be doing so. For the first time in my life I will probably vote “strategically”, not for the party best representing my views but for the party with the best chance of defeating the Harper Government. I am pessimistic about the results though.

    I recently heard spring defined here as when we start getting announcements from friends and relatives on the West Coast about all their flowers. Must be spring 😉

  7. Pauline says:

    Your flowers are well ahead of mine. There is snow on the cottage lawn yet and my vegetable garden is still buried in mounds of the white stuff. Give it a few weeks, though, and my peas will be up and smiling, too.

    Will be interested to hear how the ferry “settlement” goes. I’ve been reading you for awhile now and I recall that first post on the problems of islanders vs Lummis.

  8. wisewebwoman says:

    Oh those primroses, I so miss them from my growing up years in Ireland!
    As to the ferry, I can sympathize, we have our ongoing ferry problems here in Newfoundland, prices have doubled and service has declined. No surprises, the brand new ferry is rolling and hurting people because the stabilizers don’t. Ongoing saga of wretchedness.
    good plan on your wee condo with such travel uncertainty.

  9. Natalie says:

    I hope the ferry dispute will be resolved with good will and good humour on both sides. Do the islanders and the Lummi ever get together in each others’ homes. as neighbours sometimes do? If nor why not?

    Good luck and success with your exhibition, Anne.

  10. Freda says:

    It sounds as if things have been very difficult over the last months – at least the dinner should give an opportunity to speak privately to people – or will it? I used to work in amongst islands and am used to ferries and how island people feel about access. I hope everything works out and look forward to reading your assessment with interest.

    Your flowers are well ahead of ours here in amongst the Scottish mountains, but they are catching up!

  11. Hattie says:

    Let’s hope everything gets resolved to the satisfaction of all parties and that spring heals everyone’s nerves.
    We have a condo in Seattle close to where our children and grandchildren live. We will go there in May for a while.

  12. Darlene says:

    Your photos of lovely flowers are just beautiful. I do miss pretty gardens.

    A Condo sounds like a good solution if the ferry issue isn’t resolved. What a problem!

    Love the evolution bumper sricker.

  13. Natalie says:

    Anne,thank you so much for linking to ‘La Vie en Rosé’. It’s only a long short story – I wouldn’t have the discipline to turn it into a novel!

    Hope you’ll post photos of your new exhibition.

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