My 52 week challenge theme last week was “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town”. Now, I technically don’t live in a town; I live on an island which has no official town. We have a fairly large sized grocery store/strip mall, a couple of restaurants, and even a branch of the public library here all which, if placed in the same general area, could constitute a town. Instead, I became a tourist on our island.
Bright and early on Saturday morning I climbed into our old Ford F250 pick-up truck and headed out. I generally avoid driving the “beast” but I drew the short straw this time and that’s the vehicle that was mine for the day. The “beast” and I made our first stop at the obvious choice for a morning outing. The Camano Island Coffee Roaster’s Market Place.
It’s one of the best places for tourists to stop when they are out to explore our island. The Coffee Roasters is the brainchild of Jeff Ericson who is not only a top notch entrepreneur, he’s also a top notch humanitarian. He started out roasting coffee beans in his garage and eventually built a fantastic commons area which houses his coffee roasting business and several other local businesses as well. His coffee is organic and free trade. I hear the coffee is fantastic; I’m not a coffee drinker (Sorry, Jeff and Jodi) so I walked out of the Marketplace with my favorite Chai Tea Latte’.
I wandered around the Market Place Common’s area for a bit, locating the tourist type things that Jeff Ericson has placed there. From the HUGE Crab Welcome Sign to the seaside photo boards, there’s a little bit of fun to be found.
Del Fox Meats offers a great hamburger or pulled pork lunch and the bakery has some delectable cookies to finish off the meal. One of the shops had some great “twig” furniture, for lack of a better term, and so, since there was no one out and about yet, I had to try them out.
Having enjoyed the tourist attractions at the Marketplace, I climbed back into “the beast” and drove the short distance to the Chamber of Commerce welcome center. There I found some local artwork
and a wonderful sign that helps visitors locate their destinations on the island.
With my latte’ cup empty and the morning hours fleeting, I jumped back into my ride and found myself at my next destination: English Boom Preserve. Once a logboom location, English Boom Preserve is now a wildlife sanctuary with a nice beach and walking trails. It also sports views of Mt. Baker and Whidbey Island in the distance.
My morning of vacation was drawing to an end as I drove towards home. I decided to take in one last tourist destination which is perhaps the largest draw for tourists to our island. The Camano Island State Park is one of the more beautiful places I’ve been and it’s only 5 minutes from my house.
There are camp sites, boat launch, and more beaches to enjoy. We use to own a boat and launched it there often. There’s a strong current running through the area so it made for some challenges when loading our boat back onto the trailer. They have a dock there now but it sadly wasn’t in place when we needed it most. Ric and I have spent many evenings sitting on the driftwood watching people load and unload their boats. It provides a great study on human relationships. *grin*
My mini-vacation now complete, “the beast” and I headed for home. It’s a treat to take time on a sunny northwest morning and spend it playing tourist in my own neighborhood. Well, for that matter, it’s just a treat having a sunny northwest morning, but that’s a theme for another day.
You see, the culture in today’s world in which we live has seen great transitions from our more “role specific” past. It use to be that women and men had more defined roles, more defined things that typified them. Not so much any longer.
As I wandered through my thoughts this past week thinking of the theme and what I wanted to do, every time I thought of something that in my mind seemed to define “Masculine”, I would then realize that no, it could define both men and women. Women have permeated almost every area that use to be the definition of a man. Sports, carpentry, mechanics, these are just a few of the things that came to mind and then were dismissed.
As my husband, Ric, my son Austin, and I watched the movie “Courageous” last night, I realized what I wanted to show in my weekly photo. It’s not something dramatic or dynamic. It’s a very simple reflection of what I think defines Masculinity.
I believe Masculinity is defined as a man knowing what his role is in society as a defender of others, being strong not physically but in fortitude, resolute in his beliefs, filled with character and integrity. He is ready and willing to courageously do battle to defend and preserve his family, he takes responsibility when he should and steps up to stand firm when necessary. A “manly man”, in my opinion, is not some guy who has bulging muscles and walks around the gym grunting. Nor is it a man who lives in the woods, eats his own kill and wears deer scented spray. Instead, it’s the man who is willing to lay his life down for others sacrificially, who shows his strength in his willingness to do what is right, not what is popular.
I am grateful to my husband for being a “Manly Man”, for teaching our boys how to be real men, and for showing me what the word “Masculine” really means.
(Note: As I just completed writing this I glanced out the window and witnessed my husband and son knocking down a wasps nest; they had a long stick and knocked it down, then ran! Masculinity shows wisdom when needed and knows when to fight and when to run!)