SO MUCH DEPENDS ON ONE WHITE SEAGULL
SEATTLE, Washington The plane skates along Lake Union, then gingerly lofts into the sky. She banks, curving past the Space Needle, then drones north towards British Columbia.
I ricochet off the armrests, craning to see out both portholes.
Here lies the rub: when float planes skim directly over one's house, said house is not visible from a float plane. Doh.
Puget Sound glows teal, shading to sage, then beige, with a white ruffle along the shore. Clouds reduce the Olympic mountains to a thin band: Tom Robbin's dance of the seven veils, beginning with the navel. We fly over a rural grab-bag of architecture, the landscape of my youth: waterfront manors, trailers on bluffs, farm houses and fields, those semaphore flags strung across the churned earth. Cul-de-sacs sprout everywhere, like fungus puffs after a heavy rain.
Dungeness Spit is a wishbone below. I last hiked there 12 years ago, as a young guide coaxing day-trippers with McManus tall tales. Supertankers looming six, seven, eight stories made me yearn overseas. Let me go. Go, go, go to get gone...
I did. I'm home. I want only to watch that one white seagull, like a cigar band on a drift log.
A 1970s-Kodachrome sun turns Victoria mustard and gold. The float plane mosquitos low ... a 15-second glide suspended, suspended, wait for it then the pontoons jolt into the harbor.
And we're off to surf the Wild Pacific Rim.