A Sawmill Story.

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A Short Tale by Tiffany Zorich

February 11, 2019

A Long Winter Weekend At Sawmill Creek Cottage


The annual winter pilgrimage, to stop and catch our breath. Off to a large body of water, to remember just how small our worries are when measured against the silent leagues of The Puget Sound.

We step away from the urban maze to become reacquainted with the economy of wildlife and be dusted in snow. We are welcomed to our retreat by one busy little robin who, by my count, never stopped working throughout our entire stay.

Our four days, on the other hand, were quite relaxing, peaceful and restorative. Everyday we had great entertainment, as we delighted in getting to know some of the local characters.

Each morning we could count on taking perch at the kitchen table or on the front porch, with coffee in hand, to see:

The flotilla of mergansers constantly plunging their curious hairdos below the surface of the water in search of some delectable sea snack.

Or ‘The Sawmill Creek Ducks’ who, at times, make the creek sound like a good New York deli at breakfast time. Full of cantankerous old men complaining about the cold.

Always the armada of bossy geese in one kerfuffle after the next.

‘Rocky Raccoon’ and his bent tail lumbered through the yard, not terribly interested in socializing, on a couple of afternoons. And there was one elusive deer who meandered on through our snowiest day, right after two majestic eagles soared right over the top of the cottage.

As anywhere else, the darkness brings out a very different set of characters:

In the very early morning an orchestra of owls can be heard working hard to summon the sun to rise so that they may finally get some shuteye.

But our most auspicious and distinct visitor was on our first night…

Nightlife at Sawmill Creek

Some say that the black fox is like a unicorn. Few, if any, get to witness it’s cunning grace in a lifetime. But for the inhabitants of San Juan Island, on a small shore that was born of the sheer magic of this Northwest archipelago; this fox is less of a mythical creature. It is the ‘Vixen of Friday Harbor’.

Last night I took to the front porch to assess what the incoming weather had to say. As I felt the icy breeze dance with the miniature snowflakes on my cheeks, I caught the furtive outline of the coquettish little creature.

Trotting lightly across the snow dusted grass in front of the cottage, she paused to look over her shoulder at me, watching surreptitiously from my perch.

What are you waiting for?