There’s a series of old military forts around here, remnants of a “triangle of fire” meant to protect the entrance of Puget Sound from enemy ships. Construction started on these forts in 1896, but by the time my sister and I started visiting them in the early 1970’s, they were deserted, the perfect setting for epic games of flashlight tag and Capture the Flag in them in the 70’s with our hippy summer day care program.
Now we take a trip to Fort Worden each year for my daughters’ father’s annual family reunion. Fortunately for me, once you marry into my ex’s family, you’re in it for life, whatever the state of your marriage. I’m lucky in many ways, and this is one big one. The girls, their father, and I hike up through the forest that’s grown back around the concrete and steel forts and explore all the tunnels and stairs without safety railings. It feels wonderful to be exploring where the American love of litigation has yet to ruin all of the fun that comes with being able to judge for yourself what’s safe and what isn’t.
During this year’s reunion, just last weekend, it was the doors and windows that got me. Sunlight is never a given here, especially in May, so there are many places I’ve visited many times without ever seeing them on a sunny spring day. I’ve been running through these same doors and gazing through these same windows since I was my daughter’s age, but they looked brand-new to me last weekend.