Before: The simple life.
In Chimacum, on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, there are probably more dairy cows than humans. It is a place where it’s common to see a 1972 Ford F-100 hard at work, way past its expiration date. Where those who own a patch of ground extend their hospitality to friends to park a trailer/bus/boat and live a while until they find a job/squeeze/studio space. Where the pie is from scratch and serving bad coffee is a sin. In Chimacum, not everyone bothers to replace their missing teeth, and that is perfectly acceptable.
It is also the place where I became a hardwired environmentalist — not because it was chic or because of yuppie guilt, but because it was a matter of survival.
I was introduced to Chimacum as a 12-year-old seventh-grader, fresh from a scholarship at a New York all-girls’ school where diplomats and old-money families sent their daughters. My father moved us back to Washington for several reasons; being closer to his family and giving us a non-urban alternative topped the list.
I never quite fit into either culture, and I split back to the city in the middle of 11th grade, feel... Read more