Sunday, June 7, 2009

Only in Bellingham

That's an aerial picture of Bellingham, with the bay in the foreground and Mt. Baker behind. The city of Bellingham lies in between, with I-5 running north-south right through the middle. It doesn't usually look like this picture, however. Bellingham is an unusual place. With the Canadian border just a few minutes to the north, and the Cascades coming right up to within a few miles to the east, and Bellingham Bay to the west with lots of interesting islands and points, there really is nowhere else quite like this place.

Most of the time when you look out your window (in the winter, spring, and fall anyway), there are many more clouds than seen here. Great clouds, actually; big fluffy ones, low clouds with spots of blue peeking through, and sometimes high cirrus. Rarely is there just clear sky day after day.

However, we just finished a three-week period of sunshine, no clouds except for one day when we had a few sprinkles. This is highly unusual! Today and yesterday the constant sunshine broke, and we awoke to low clouds, and although it may seem strange to some people, it was a relief to me. Last Thursday I hiked 11 miles with the Senior Trailblazers, when a new high temperature for the date was set for Bellingham: 84 degrees F. I have never felt so dehydrated and tired, although almost the entire hike was in shade (the Chuckanut Ridge). I drank all the water I brought with me, and when I returned home, a shower and two cold beers finally made me feel a little like a human being again.

Looking out the window just now, I saw an interesting sight: a northern flicker (a beautiful bird on the large side) come to my feeder. I have stopped putting seeds in the large platform feeder for the summer, since it's quite hard to keep clean, and I figured the big birds would be okay at this time of year. He managed to hop onto the smaller transparent feeder and use his tail to wrap himself around it (it has a movable dome to keep the larger birds out) and used his long beak to snarf down sunflower seeds.

When I lived in Boulder, the was a saying, "only in Boulder." But I'm learning that the "only in" part pertains to many different things. Only in Bellingham would you find the kinds of things I've learned about. The Ski to Sea race, which has 7 segments over 90 miles, encompassing skiing, bicycling, and water sports. Only in Bellingham does the mayor of the town toss out the First Cabbage on opening day of the Farmer's Market. The market has plenty of wonderful local veggies, homemade cheese, performers, and local arts and crafts. Boulder has a pretty nice Farmer's Market too, but it has become so commercialized that I stopped going there are few years back. Maybe this is what the Boulder market used to be like. If so, I hope we can keep this ambience going for a while.

The other thing Bellingham has that I didn't have in Boulder is a much smaller town feeling, even though they are comparable in size. Both cities have a university, so you have lots of young people here who enjoy night life (not something I can stay awake long enough to appreciate). I know there is a Senior Center in Boulder, but I didn't need one until I retired, and Bellingham's center is quite a wonderful place for me to meet my peers. Between the YMCA (where I attend classes and use the workout room) and the Senior Center's Trailblazers, I've become quite familiar with and feel a part of several social groups. At some point I will start to volunteer in a capacity I haven't yet identified, but right now there's not a lot of room in my life for that. Here's a picture of some of the Trailblazers with one of the Twin Sisters behind us.

That's me smiling in front, with Fred, Sally, Carol, and Linda looking quite fit and snazzy for a bunch of old folks, don't you think? We took a poll last week about the average age of the group, and it turned out to be 68.

I found Bellingham on the internet, while looking for a place on the west coast to use as a jumping-off place in retirement. We visited once in the summer of 2006, spending a month looking around the area. For now, we don't see any reason to move from here. My life is full and the future... who knows what the future holds? I certainly don't, but the future needs to be experienced somewhere as long as one is still alive, and this seems to be the place for me.


  1. Gorgeous pictures DJan. Bellingham is truly beautiful, is it not! The only place I've seen like it is when I was in Switzerland a few years ago. It must have been very exciting, choosing a place to live, like you did. I'd like to hear more about that sometime?
    Here in Tennessee, we have had temps. in the upper 80's this week and for me that is EXTREMELY hot and I struggle to cope, I really do.
    The bird in your picture is SO pretty! and I love your description of the market.
    Blessings, Star

  2. That was a nice little virtual visit to your part of the world, my friend. I hope to someday see it in person.


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