Wednesday, July 6, 2016


by Rose Moore---A memory from the year 2000:

As every Independence day approaches, my husband Bob and I immerse ourselves in memories of a special Independence Day in the year 2000. From our retreat in Silverdale, Washington, as we happily looked down upon the waters of the Dyer Inlet, we were eagerly awaiting the birth of a grandson. And that boy was taking his time!

THE GREAT NORTHWEST was lovely, and we experienced wanderlust. As we entered Independence Weekend, we cruised at daybreak down the highways that framed the sparkling waterways---destination nowhere, destination everywhere.
Past the many little towns, we stopped at Suquamish Reservation and stepped into the gracious shadow of a giant totem pole, carved from the torso of a thousand-year-old tree. A monument to Chiefs Sealth and Kitsap, the totem had connected two U.S. coasts in friendship in 1962, touring from Seattle to New York City, spreading good will across 7,000 miles, 25 states and 30 cities.
As we relaxed beside the totem we met Celeste, a young woman of the Suquamish tribe. Recognizing us as visitors from someplace else, she gifted us with a small basket of smoked salmon, the traditional welcome symbol of her tribe. She asked that we accept it with her friendship, and that we take her friendship with us as we traveled.
Before we parted ways, she shared some history of her tribe and told us of a special happening in nature we should be sure to see. It was, she said, appropriate to our national holiday, as it involved the eagle, symbol of our country.
WE FOLLOWED HER advice, venturing out next morning into the cold and dampness to see a "Gathering of Eagles" that had been going on for days in the estuary of the Big Beef Creek, near Seabeck.
This was normally a placid feeding ground for great blue heron, but now it was a place to see the eagles soaring in together in great numbers, "screeching, soaring, flapping, perching, doing battle and standing in the tidal muck" (as the local papers described the unusual and rare event). In the gloom, we waited for the eagles, watching as dark clouds hovered like smoke rings around the peaks of the Olympic Mountains. We shivered in the almost-liquid air, noticing the bits of brightness in the wild poppies, sweetpeas, yarrow, wild roses...
Locals who were also watching for the eagles said the birds were drawn there at this time by food supplies uncovered by the tides, which were at historic low that week. Beaches all around were filled with starfish, crabs, tiny octopi, oysters, clams... It was a naturalist's delight!
We waited long and patiently, but the hungry eagles proved unpredictable in their arrival. Encountering nothing more spectacular than a conga line of scraggly heron, we moved on to Poulsbo, and from what we later heard, the eagles arrived at Seabeck in our wake, putting on a real show in our absence.
AT A BAY NAMED Liberty, we saluted Poulsbo, a Norwegian-founded town with a scenic harbor, a bustling marina with many businesses, quaint restaurants and shops, a historic district, a plentitude of flowers, and a mammoth rock that years ago was pulled up from the harbor waters to serve as a "mountain" for the children of the town to climb.
From there we whisked past coves and inlets; crossed the Olympic Peninsula toward the ocean; zipped past Shelton (the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" and also the home of a prison); McCleary (where we were accidentally caught up in the quirky Festival of the Bear Parade); Aberdeen (whose speciality once was to shanghai men for servitude at sea but where now we viewed vast amounts of peeled logs at harbor waiting shipment to Japan); and Hoquiam (a town of classic buildings, from tiny "seaside quaint" to high Victorian, with wrought iron, picket fences and gardens, gardens, gardens).
Devouring the beauty of this northwest countryside, we found, had been a perfect way to spend a holiday that celebrates our country, but I faced the evening dragged down by fatigue. 
OUR HOSTS HAD promised us a robust Fourth, helped along by Fireworks Alley (the Indian reservations where you can buy professional pyrotechnics the likes of which you may never see again). Every town and neighborhood had planned its own display, but I decided to relax. As the rest of the crew left in search of celebrations, I showered, washed my hair, and with a cup of coffee went out on the deck, happy to absorb the quiet beneath a rising moon.
Almost instantly I was surrounded by an all-embracing crazy-quilt of fire and color---showers, sprays and splashes emerging brilliantly from ground and air, reflected in the waters all around the inlet and broadcast up and down the hills. Above, below and all around, the night was painted by these rockets from communities and neighborhoods and private parties. I didn't seem to hear the sound; was it because my dazzled eyes were over-occupied?
At midnight sharp, as law demanded, the brilliance stopped abruptly, and I sat flabbergasted in the sulfuric fog. A lone voice rang across the hills below, "Let Freedom Ring!" His words were followed by applause that seemed to come from every corner of the universe. And then the quiet settled in; the holiday was over.
I NEVER HAVE forgotten that Independence Day, and I never will.
But it wasn't just the holiday or the loveliness of the Great Northwest; and it wasn't just the fireworks. 
It was the birth of Robert Bryan Moore, son to Bryan and Karla Moore; and grandson to Robert and Rose Moore. He came along two days after the July 4th birthday of our country, and from that day forward we've associated that grand holiday with him..