Autumn in Seattle is a femme fatale, a sultry woman who seduces you into thinking winters won’t be so dreary. She offers bright, sunny afternoons with fresh, crisp air. She offers delicious foliage that evolves from crunchy green into piquant hues of blood orange and sweet yellow corn. And with gently sun-kissed cheeks and an awakening stretch of summer-weary muscles, she leads me into winter with a false sense of security.
The past few weeks of September have been hand-held by this irresistible and ethereal woman. She’s led me through the winding roads of the Hood Canal and to the cozy northern Washington town of Bellingham.
The adventure began on a motorcycle in Bremerton, where we ventured north along Highway 3 to the bridge crossing into Squamish Harbor. On the bike, we snaked along the winding side roads, following only our whims with the breeze. We screeched to a halt in the grassy gutter lining the macadam and doubled back to follow an A-board road sign advertising Wine and Cider. At the other fork in the road. This way!
Crunching down the gravel path, we found ourselves in a rustic orchard with a cabin studded on either side by a barn. The front sign on the stoop of the cabin read Eaglemount Wine and Cider. Simple.
Inside we sampled a row of handmade ciders and wines. Pear cider. Ginger cider. All made with fruit from the surrounding orchard and a few sourced from western Washington. And wine barrels stacked on wine barrels in the cellar. All stamped with black ink on the round, wooden casing. All hand made by the husband and wife duo.
From Eaglemount we ventured along to the Dabob Bay, where mucking around the swampy marshes proved an interesting archaeological and anthropological snapshot. Tires, coke bottles, scraps of wood, dead crabs the size of my thumbnail speckled this slippery and odoriferous bay. Somewhat like the armpit of the pristine landscape.
From Dabob Bay, we hopped over to the 4-street town of Quilcene, Washington, pop. 600. Right on the bend of Highway 101 is the cutest little dinette. We munched on hand prepared sandwiches– delicious bites of avocado, lettuce, tomato, tucked tightly between simple whole wheat bread. A nearby housecat offered companionship and a few chuckles as he slinked his way through our legs at the picnic table. Eventually he crawled on the table to solicit attention and sniff our dinner. Attention easily granted.
After our bite, we stumbled into the site for the Olympic Music Festival, along Highway 104. We slid into the landscape in awe of the gorgeous barns and hand-built fences. The owners, husband and wife who live on site, approached us from the fields where they were walking and greeted us. “You’ve missed the festival!” the husband chuckled. By only two weeks. The festival spans nearly two months. Well, maybe next year.
They let us meander the grounds, wondering what classical music in the open, fresh mountain air would sound like. Imagining the energy of the people quietly walking from stage to stage, yearning for more lilting orchestral music.
After a quiet reverie in the woods, we jetted back to the ferries. Back to the concrete jungle, where the wet autumn weather would begin to ascend without hesitation. Like a femme fatale. Beautiful but relentless.
The long sobs / Of the violin / Of Autumn/ Wound my heart / With a monotonous / Langour…