the little town on the water to which our parents migrated -- and subsequently brought us up during our teenage years -- is, in many ways, a port. a short trip to the south is seattle, and only just a bit north looms the canadian-american border -- a vast and forested borderland that stretches for 4,000 miles -- the longest undefended border in the world. in college, i learned how 20th century asian immigrants split their families up across that line -- to apply for american citizenship was twice the price of canadian. and so parents and children and siblings and cousins straddled that almost mythical space, went across, and wrote across, and dreamt across, and passed through it -- a tunnel, a passageway, a breath held. a comma.
the little town from which i come is a place that people pass through to hop on a city-bound train, to catch a ferry to an unassuming island to west. the little town from which i come is called mukilteo -- meaning good camping ground, but also meaning narrow passageway. in its fledgling years, it was a trading town. a fishing village. a point of entry. it is a place where things are gathered, where things are traded, where things come to be where they weren't before. it is a place where people pass through, but where others live -- where hands gather in holding at the end of wobbly docks, where words of love are first exchanged in dark, dewey parks. where on christmas day, you might find us, him & me, nestled on a ferry boat that cuts across the water to another place, but always, inevitably, returns home.