Thursday, 24 September 2009


CITIZENS OF THIS SUPERCITY SEEM COMMITTED TO AN UNWRITTEN COMPACT OF HEALTHY OPENNESS AND SOCIAL ADVENTURISM; Friendly folks--ready to play. Like a good-time gang (see N.Y. city "flash mobs") with shared values---turf---even rituals. (see festival of Zozobra in Santa Fe, NM---burning mr gloom) IT IS BELONGING WITHOUT EXCLUSION-----PRIDE WITHOUT PREJUDICE: I wandered the streets of Port Townsend like a puppy in a kindergarten, playing with whomever crossed my path---gardeners, boatbuilders, merchant folks, tourist---all seemed "in on the game." I'm curious---dug a bit--How did this Shangrila come to be? Thanks to Alex( and the internet, the "story" emerged. I'll share it with you after showing a bit more of the town. Downtown ----a few blocks long and 2 blocks wide---note the victorian facades---there's good reason for them ---will explain later.

Saturday farmers market nestled among classic Victorian mansions.

High upon a steep bluff not unlike San Francisco's nob hill.
Familiar sight in Port Townsend---musicians everywhere. Failed to photograph a particularly good cowboy yodeler.

Music on the warf---deeply focused on their music.

Well painted--well named boat--Cruso (as in Robinson?)--couldn't find the owner to ask.
State of the art fiberglass wind-powered, mobile, island. note clever lettering.
Showed this pleasant chap earlier --husband and wife about the age of the boat.
also a common sight here. Traffic waited unhonkingly.
Shady part of the bicycle trail--went on forever--didn't reach the end. I liked it so well that I found the trail group and pitched a bodacious idea to them: Why not build a bicycle/hiking trail across America. They smiled and told me the good news---already underway!! Completed just recently:--a trail across the top of Washington state. Is this the age of Aquairius or what?
I envision such an ocean to ocean journey becoming a rite of passage for young folks.
Some clever fellow invented this interesting 3-wheeler.

OK! You got the picture--pretty town--brimming with clever friendly citizens. Here's how it came to be: 1870's----railroad headed north from Frisco--reaches Tacoma---decision time: West or East side of Puget Sound (look at the map) to a gonna-be world class shipping port. In contention: Seattle or Port Townsend? The smart money speculated it just had to be the latter. The boom was on-- a frenzy of buying and building. The railroad just HAD to come this way---BUT IT DIDN'T!!! ---Went to Seattle. Port Townsend folded like a losing poker hand. Buildings boarded up---mansions abandoned. Like Rip Van Winkle the town slept---for 90 years.
Now the scene shifts to the mud flats of Sausalito, across from San Francisco where alien beings take up residence in derelect boats and structures of an abandoned wwII shipyard. They are the Hippies of course--the clever inventive version of the species, soon "hooked" on low cost living. What Venice (also a mud flat refuge of unconventionality) was to the Renaissance--those mud flats of Sausalito were to the Age of Aquairius. And like Venice, the creativity generated there spread to the known world. In the 70's Port Townsend was discovered--bought up for a song---restored, embellished, appreciated for the magical location that it is. Writers, musicians, flocked here to the HAPPENING. The houses filled--and still they came---squatting wherever---(they called these squatters "shed boys") living low to feel high in this environment.
What have we Learned: That when a CRITICAL CORE OF COUNTERCULTURE CREATIVITY ignites it attracts even more "fuel" in a self -reinforcing glow--that eventually radiates light to the whole world. Demean if you will todays' version of the hippies--we owe their predecessors big thanks.
Where else is creativity glowing: Tubac, Az--Bisbee, Az--Patagonia, Az---Santa Fe, NM--Madrid, NM, Taos, NM--San Francisco, Ca (Of course) and in a new agey fashion Sedona, AZ, Boulder, Co and in a quirky town worth visiting: Crestone, Co-- Just to name the ones I'm familiar with.

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