By Christine St.Pierre – Downtown Seattle seemed to vibrate, its lights pulsating with electricity. Standing on the balcony, I watched the city grow dim and disappear as the ferry slipped into the thick fog surrounding Bainbridge Island. Moonlight illuminated the small landmass before me, its ridge jagged from the treetops of giant evergreens. Small houses dotted the shoreline with kayaks and beach chairs along the water’s edge. The ferry’s engines turned off, and we coasted into the harbor.

Slowly, I inhaled through my nose; the smell of seawater, kelp, and dense forest flooded my senses. A calm overcame me. Leaving the sleepless bustle of Seattle behind, the island immediately offered a tranquil escape. The moonlight lit my path as I walked to my new home from the ferry station. Sleepy, eclectic storefronts boasted of a lively community, and I was eager to discover what the sunlight would bring the next morning.

I awoke in a beautiful cabin home with a wall of windows that overlooked a yard decorated with large ferns and old growth trees. The other interns living in the house slowly filed into the kitchen to boil water for their morning tea, and we elaborated on what drew us to the island for an internship at YES! Magazine. Writers, activists, and lovers of the outdoors, each of us was eager to plant roots in the island’s various organic farming, music, art, and writing circles. So began the fun part: finding them.

Our home in the southeastern corner of the island is a short bike ride away from downtown Winslow, the community hub that welcomes the flow of ferry passengers as they disembark from the terminal. All day, people wander in and out of the assortment of local businesses that line the streets, greeting each other by first name. The general aesthetic and attitude is that of humility, genuine happiness, and an appreciation for their shared island home. Even the sun seems to shine more often here.

I had heard rumors of the island being a desert of twenty and thirty-something folks, but immediately I caught glimpses of them everywhere, grabbing lunch at the Town & Country grocer, sipping coffee, or driving trucks filled with crates of locally grown produce along Winslow streets. They exist amongst the families and tourists, a rare species that can be seen anywhere at any time. The tricky part is actually getting to know someone. From there, it’s a domino effect. I landed a job at Pegasus Coffee House, which filtered me directly into a scene composed of sailors, famers, artists, writers, musicians, yogis, locals, transplants, and everything in between. Quickly, I became acquainted with a handful of locals and began my transition into island life.

My adventure to Bainbridge Island originated as a career opportunity, one that would come and go, offering professional skills and connections that would lead me into a future in editing. Upon arriving, though, I sensed that I would weave myself into the conscious community before me—one that I had unsuccessfully searched for in Seattle—and remain for much longer than planned.

I was right. Over time, this island would become my home.

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