At the annual Hugo House auction, a group of us chipped in to buy a yacht tour of the Duwamish River, with Frances McCue, (one of the Hugo House co-founders and author of a recent book, The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs, about the Northwest towns that are the settings for many of Richard Hugo's poems) as our tour guide. I love Richard Hugo's book about writing, The Triggering Town, and the book Frances' has written is gorgeous, with photos by Mary Randlett, a really wonderful photographer who is one of my new heroes.
I wish I could tell you all the interesting things Frances told us about the Duwamish, but I don't remember it with enough accuracy to do it justice. It's a Superfund site and so plenty of the history is tragic, as you can imagine, but also fascinating since it's so integral to the history of the city and floating down the river made Frances' stories just that much more evocative and vivid. The best part was when she read part of a Hugo poem. She asked us if she could, as though any of us would have done anything other than beg her to go on. It was a rare sunny day in late September, what could be better than to be read to?
Gena and Jennifer were the perfect company on this trip, both whip-smart women who are always up for an adventure. They also both have that particular kind of wonderfully curious minds that make certain people so much fun to talk to. At dinner afterwards, I kept wishing I could be part of all the conversations happening simultaneously, since Frances, Rose, Jim and Dan are exactly the same way.
Rose is on the Hugo House board with me, and was generous enough to donate the trip on her boat, the Celestine. She and her husband spend a few months a year living on the Celestine, most recently up in the San Juans and Gulf Islands. Speaking of women always up for an adventure... in her former life she was a litigator and she also fits in the category of whip-smart.
Totally underexposed, taken as we left the boat at sunset, but I love this one of Gena. I feel like I've known her and Jennifer for several lifetimes and I love that too.