I’m fascinated by the environment of Whidbey Island. From a surface perspective, it seems very similar to Maine: coast, lots of evergreens, mild terrain, no poisonous animals….but after staying here for a few days, it becomes remarkably fertile and life-filled in a way that Maine isn’t.
First, there is the abundant wild and domesticated fruit. It’s everywhere. The wild raspberry bushes are slightly past season, but the domesticated ones are in full-bloom. It’s also cherry season, and the cherries are incredibly ripe. Next week or the week after blackberry season starts. Though they are still green right now, there are _so_ many_ blackberries ready to fruit most of the road sides will be purple. One could seriously extend almost no effort and collect enough wild fruit here this summer to live on for a year (granted a freezer of enough capacity.)
I’ve been told that in peak season it can be overwhelming…apparently the outside smells like fermenting blackberries.
There are also peaches, rose hips, and plenty of stinging nettle.
Then there is the animal life. Wild bunnies are everywhere. Not hares, cute little bunnies the size of a kitten. Deer are fearless. There are no bears, no poisonous snakes, no creatures of danger to big mammals like us. There are giant banana slugs, which look like they belong somewhere tropical.
There are bald eagles, hummingbirds, and abundant shore-life. Crabs, starfish, sand dollars.
Economically, southern Whidbey is wealthy and artistic. It’s a low-crime, positive community. They’ve got a bit of a fetish for road-paving; it’s the only place I’ve ever seen still-bright lines being re-striped in the middle of a work day.
However, a review of some of the geographic feature names indicates that this used to be a place of pessimism. For example:
things change with time, it seems.