Slow down for speeders!

A contradiction? Not at all! This is a proposal to remind visitors and those of us who persist in mainland ways that they are now in San Juan County, where things are different. This is why we’re here, and why others come. But the mainland pace of life is hard to shake, and shake it we must … or we’re simply an illusory extension of the mainland.

To be specific: the speed limit may be 35 or 45 miles an hour. That is a permission, not an order! We may be familiar with the scenery; we see it once or twice a day. But if you’ve tired of the scenery that among other things draws nearly a million visitors a year, many bringing their vehicles, and many others who, being part-timers (irrespective of how they see themselves), arrive imbued with the mainland pace of living, having used the 60 and 70 mile per hour speed limits to get to the Mount Vernon turnoff, it’s understandable. It’s hard to slow down.

They, and some of us, need help. Accordingly, my proposal is simply to slow down and enjoy what we came for. Is that barn in good shape or is it collapsing? What view does that house on the hill have (which at the moment, includes us)? Did the recent cold spell hurt that corn? Is that a fox among the newborn sheep? Keep your eyes on the road, driver! Is that a … yes, it’s a fawn, frozen in its tracks, too young to recognize the threat we present. Give it a brake. Literally. What’s the hurry? You’re here, where you belong at this moment. So be here. With us, who live here and treasure it all.

Bill Appel

Friday Harbor