Notes from a Small Island

I’m up in Northern Washington for a week. It’s the first real vacation my husband and I have had since our honeymoon nearly four years ago. The San Juan Islands — Friday Harbor in particular — are amazing. They’re beautiful, clean, inspiring, and peaceful.
A bit too peaceful.
I couldn’t sleep last night because of the peace. Because of the quiet. It makes me hear things. Crackles on the lawn outside, sea lions splashing, bugs banging against the screens — they all make me sit straight up and demand from my snoozing husband, “What’s that?!”
It makes me miss San Francisco and the predictable noise outside our apartment. The cars, the occasional sirens, the drunks at closing time, loud dogs going for a midnight dump in the park — these I can sleep through. I understand these noises. I expect them. They’re my white noise.
The dark here is very dark as well. I can open the shades and not see my hand in front of my face. Outside, there is no city glow to compete with the blanket of stars above. Still, not seeing the hand in front of my face is kind of scary. What else am I not seeing in front of my face?
These boogeyman thoughts aren’t new. I had them as a kid when we came out here in the summers to visit my grandparents. I guess even then I was a city kid, and maybe that’s the problem. I’m a city kid who has turned into a city adult and even on a peaceful, restful, needed vacation, I miss my city.
As a kid, that city was Minneapolis.
Then it was Boston.
Now, my city is San Francisco.

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