Archetypes of the Pacific Northwest, with Magic!

We pulled the dingy onto the muddy shore at Penrose State Park, looking forward to a hike to the other side of the little peninsula. We hoped we’d see other boats from the Puget Sound Cruising Club anchored there as we were supposed to be there for a raft-up. I’d spent the better part of the previous evening sick as a dog and, feeling more myself, it felt good to get off the boat and stretch my legs. The park was filled with Memorial Day revelers  and several dinghies were tied up on rocks on the other side of the cove. Together we pulled the dingy up onto the mud and looked for a place to tie up.

Me: ” Honey, there isn’t any place to tie off Puddler in this part of the cove. Maybe we should move it closer to those rocks with the other dingies. The tide is coming in.”

Mike: “Naw, let’s just pull it up further onto the beach. We won’t be gone that long.”

Me: ” Are you sure? That seems a little risky to me.”

Mike: “Here’s a rock. I’ll tie it off here. See? Okay, let’s go.”

Always trusting my husband to know what is best, I trudge off with him, ever the ‘dutiful’ wife. Hahahahahaha!

Love is frequently blind.

We spent the next hour hiking the woodsy trail, enjoying the sunshine and remembering why we still live in the Pacific Northwest, in spite of the hateful winters. If only it were like this all the time! We began to think of all the folks we know who live in other parts of the country, never having known the joys of Pacific Northwest Cruising in Good Weather. With newlyweds Tate and Dani of Sundowner Sails Again in mind, we assembled this collection of Northwest archetypes to give them an idea of what they are missing by living down south. Some folks would call these photos ‘ubiquitous’, but I prefer the more academic, intellectually stimulating term ‘archetype’ as it more accurately reflects the esoteric symbolic nature of these images and also allows me to use big words. If you are more on the side of ‘ubiquitous’, you can skip the next part and cut to the video at the end.

Archetype of Haughty Eagle in Craggy Tree; archetype of limitless freedom, our national bird, and my personal totem animal.


Archetype of Weathered Driftwood Archway on sand and shell beach; symbolic of hidden mysteries, doorway to homes of native gnomes, elves, and fairies, symbolic of entries into other realms.

Archetype of the Meandering Forest Path; symbolic of the uncertainty of the future, also of worlds between worlds and the interconnected-ness of all things.

Archetype of the Partly Submerged Rock; symbolic of danger lurking beneath the surface and also watching the hell where you are going.


Feeling the pressure of time, and the ever increasing wind, we headed back to the other side of the park. As we emerged from the forest we could see the beach where we left Puddler.

Mike: There’s Puddler. Looks like we got back just in time, the tide really came in fast!

Me: It looks like Puddler is…… floating?

Mike: Maybe just a little. We’ll make it in time.

Me: Are you sure? He looks like he’s really floating pretty good. Actually, there appears to be a lot of water between Puddler and the beach.

Mike: He’s headed out to sea!

Me: Hurry! He’s getting further out from the beach. I think you will have to swim for it. (Naturally I assumed it would be Mike doing the swimming, since he built the dingy.)

Mike: Wait, he’s slowing down,  I think he’s moving in our direction!

Me: Call him! Whistle for him! Use your magic to bring him to you! You can do it, I believe in you! Reach your hand out to him and call him by name! (I clap my hands loudly, believing in Mike with all my heart.)

Does Mike have magic powers over his boat? Watch the video and you be the judge, along with our audience at the site, the South Sound Sailing Society. (Maybe we should join their group since we found them easily, plus they had a tasty looking potluck on the beach.)

10 thoughts on “Archetypes of the Pacific Northwest, with Magic!

  1. The dingy whisperer does it again.

    Great photos / archetypes. Perhaps we’ll have to follow suit to show you what you’re missing down here. The mosquitos. Humidity. Deadly swamps.

    The only archtype you left out was Stranded Boater Watching Dingy Drift Away. Symbolic of panic, slanderous cussing, lost oars and luck.

    My favorite of your photos is the eagle. I love them. We’ve seen them far south. We even saw one while sailing in North Carolina on the Alligator River in a pine tree.

    In some ways I feel as though I should have been born in the north. I adore cold weather and yet I live where it is so very hot. I envy the beauty you see in the Summer up there. Our beautiful season is not-Summer. The saying in Louisiana is that there are two seasons, Summer and not-Summer. If you’re lucky, not-Summer will last more than a couple of weeks.

  2. Your skin would love our weather. Believe me, Mike and I both have experience living in Louisiana. We know what we are missing. Air so thick you can cut it with a knife, water moccasins, bugs as big as Texas, and torrential rain. It has lots of beauty, though.
    We see eagles all the time. There are several that circle over head at our house and I’m always worried they’ll try to get my koi. One time I was using the hose, watering something when I felt eyes staring at me and looked up into the face of a huge eagle, sitting in one of our smaller fir trees not 15 feet off the ground. I was speechless. Also, they have really big beaks. I never get tired of seeing them. The ones in British Columbia are huge. I could post a ton of photos.

  3. Tate, that’s funny because we have winter and not-winter. Not-winter usually lasts about 3 weeks.

    Melissa, another great post. Boy, you sure can write – you should do a book after you get through living on your boat. Include all the leading up to it as well!

    And you had to know that boat would start drifting. Hilarious! You mentioned Mike getting wet to get it because he built it. How about him getting wet because he insisted on tying it up there!

    The photos are amazing. What kind of camera are you using? I’m in the market for a new one and am pretty sure I know what I want (Canon’s recent replacement of the old G12), but am always interested in what others use.

    Re eagles, I read just this past week of an eagle bomb-diving and trying to attack a hiker. Not once but twice! Scary. And they go after baby goats and lambs all the time here. It amazes me that a BIRD can kill an animal.

    • Gwen, I have more books in me than you’d think! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. It always makes me so happy when people are entertained by it. It’s good therapy for me. We always figure if we laugh out loud about something that happens, others will , too. And actually, even though it’s my name on the posts most of the time, Mike always helps me tweak them, and vice versa.
      My camera is a Sony Cybershot, and it’s my second one since I ruined my first one in Utah. I also play with the lighting, etc. using Corel Media One and, if I really want to spend some time, Corel Painter Photo Essentials. But that program is so fancy I can barely use it and I don’t have time for that big a learning curve, although it can do some pretty cool things. Maybe when I don’t have a house to take care of.
      Got to put a plug in for your blog here. If people want to read about some good food and recipes, check out Gwen’s blog because she is an amazing cook!

  4. haha..Loved this post. The scenery is awesome!! I spent a few weeks in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia Canada during the summer one year, and it was some of the most beautiful landscapes. So nice for outdoor adventures.

    Your story about the dingy made me laugh..

  5. We wrote that one just for you and Tate! We’re always trying to tempt you two to go through the canal and turn right.
    I spent highschool up in Massachusetts and we used to go up to Maine for vacations. I’m always amazed at how similar the coasts look that far north. Someday I’ll get to Nova Scotia, but I’ll have to do a load of sailing to get there.

    • Oh yes, it’s very cool. We’re lucky if we get to sail without layers under our jackets. I don’t know if I’d want 94F, especially if it’s humid. But I could sure do 75 or 80 and be happy.

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