It all started when we moved to Lynnwood Washington after spending a couple years in southern California. I had lived in downtown Seattle off and on from '91 through 2002. It was a joyous time experiencing the music, art and People of Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Belltown, and Pioneer Square. I felt safe walking those streets any time of the day or night. In fact, I had felt comfortable and safe pretty much everywhere I had ever lived(Ketchikan, Anchorage, Fairbanks in AK, and Antelope Valley in CA).
We moved to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to two of my sons living in the Puget Sound area. After 10 years away I was excited to show Tracy some of my old haunts around downtown Seattle and almost immediately I felt out of place. A disconnect from the happy place of the past, it felt the way many have described visiting New York or Chicago: scary.
The Wife had taken a job about an hour north in Snohomish County with a lot of little towns bunched together. Puget Sound really is one big 100 mile long city from Tacoma in the south to Burlington in the north. Lynnwood put us close enough to shop and see shows in Seattle and on the other side near close enough to the weekly sweat and Red Road meetings in Marysville and Tulalip.
When we decided to make a baby in 2015 we started looking for property, and right before our daughter was born in August of 2016 we moved into a small house on Camano Island. A wonderful place with a small bridge to the mainland, not really and island to me after being stuck on the rock where Ketchikan is located. Camano is separated from the mainland and the farm town Stanwood by the Stillaguamish River and a very small slough than can be stepped over at low tide. Davis Slough is also the county line, so we lived in Island county from August of '16 until November of '21. About an hour's drive from the masses and Interstate 5, got us used to the life we live now.
Even before the 'pandemic' and lockdowns Tracy was working most workdays from home. As an RN for more than 20 years she was done with the physical strains of bedside service and able to use that knowledge in a more managerial capacity in something called utilization management. This was about looking over nurse/shift/patient reports and making sure that codes were correct and there was nothing that would cause insurance companies to deny payment.
This really became a big deal after the Affordable Care Act, written by insurance company lobbyists, put healthcare completely under the control of insurance companies. No longer about the patient's illness or symptoms but aligning the diagnosis with something the insurance company would pay for.
Anyhow, this positioned us right at ground zero as the first victims in the US were taken to the hospital she worked for and a local nursing home. Why did they go against quarantine policies that kept contagious patients aways from those who might be at risk or immune compromised? Good questions but we were able to see it firsthand.
The surprise came later when Fauxci told us that we would die and kill grandma if we didn't wear a mask. Obviously, wearing one did not help those People in Wuhan. But there we were steering wide so as to not scare the family having a picnic at the park. Momma, Poppa, and two kids fully masked up, hollering at us that they were not afraid they just beLIEve the $cience.
So many contradictions after and since then. I think that may be where the cognitive dissonance steps in, the confused mind looks to authority for guidance. Coincidence is also a great tool for dismissing obvious untruths.
That first night of the lockdowns was so creepy. Not sure where I had been but heading home through Stanwood and seeing the local sheriff pull over quickly to shine a spotlight down the hill towards the railroad tracks. Like a zombie movie but without the main characters.
How about the grocery store cashier that tossed a mask on the conveyor belt for me to wear because I wasn't going through her line without covering my face. Her hands and the conveyor belt were pure tho.
I also learned somewhere in the wayback that viruses cannot survive in high heat so it was incredibly surprising when our weekly sweatlodge ceremony was cancelled because the government said we couldn't touch or be too close together. But it wasn't really government when management at the Costco said, 'whatever the CDC says this week.'
Almost every sweatlodge ceremony was cancelled in the area. A healing ceremony that is both spiritual and physical shut down when the People needed it most. For those that haven't experienced one I can say that it is a physical cleanse in the way a sauna or steam bath helps your body to sweat out toxins. It has also been found that the smoke from smudging with sage actually kills bad bacteria. The spiritual cleanse starts when a person accepts the invite to ceremony. The connection to the creator and ancestors is reinforced by prayer and fellowship around the fire and inside the inipi.
For two years, almost every Wednesday evening we gathered to share our prayers for strength and healing. Hugging before and after and sitting in the dark shoulder to shoulder, sometimes two or three rows deep. None of us got sick.
One of the most important native healing ceremonies was once again outlawed. All the stories I had heard about how the People had to go deep into the forest to build an Inipi, carrying in their grandfather stones and wood for the fire, only to be met and arrested by the law enforcers when they opened the door came mind.
Thankfully the only authorities that came to visit were from the local firehouse, called by neighbors because we had a fire during a local burn ban. As native ceremonies are now protected they would come down the alley, see us setting up for a sweatlodge with buckets of water and hoses at the ready just in case. This would happen weekly during burn bans as many on the reservation do not follow the traditional ways and beLIEve their religious leaders condemnation of traditional ceremony. The firemen would smile and wave as we offered them to come and join in. 'See You next week.' They said, knowing the same neighbor would call and they would have to come investigate.
It was amazing at the time seeing People masked, standing on the dot, following the arrows in the grocery, 'social distancing.' The People were attacked spiritually but also, intellectually by the media pushing so many contradictions with common sense and what the People already knew to be true. Like, with us living in Washington, we knew that even the n95 mask would not protect from the wildfire smoke that annually spreads across or region. A virus particle is known to be smaller than wildfire smoke particles. We knew that Drs doing surgery wore masks to prevent particles dropping into open wounds. No one wore a mask in everyday life, even in doctors' and nurses' offices. Even Fauxci, in the beginning, acknowledged this. About a month later leadership went from telling us to get out and support local businesses to telling us we must close those businesses and hide in our houses 24/7.
A local beach where we would meet and play with Tinkergarten friends, Iverson Spit and our favorite playground called Freedom Park were locked down with padlocks and police tape. Our Daughter had left her jacket at Iverson so I went back the next day to see if I could find it but instead found the gates locked and an old masked woman out for a walk reminding me that I had better not go there. The beach. I was not allowed to be alone on an empty beach. Too many incidents like that. People were actually being arrested for enjoying nature. Alone.
Tinkergarten was shut down for about 1 1/2 years. A weekly gathering of about a dozen toddlers in an open park with STEM activities and the opportunity for socialization that so many ask about when they hear a child is homeschooled. And when it was allowed to come back many groups were having these children wear masks and social distance.
I remember telling a food co-op worker the craziness wouldn't last more than a month. Here we are 2 1/2 years later and folks are still wearing masks. Not as many but every time we go out, in businesses and even walking down the street by themselves.
When the for sale sign went up in front of our house a neighbor snidely said that we were moving because we didn't want to wear masks. No, the masks weren't the straw. It was the mandate that meant Tracy would lose her job and we wouldn't be able to make the mortgage payment. She had been injured by a flu shot about 15 years earlier and hadn't gotten one or any vaccination since. We have been working on healing her immune system ever since we met in '09 and there was no way were going to risk any more injury.
So we put the house up for sale, bought a 35' bunkhouse travel trailer and traded our two little trucks for one that would be able to pull it over any mountain pass.
More to come...
Natokinase, bromelain, curcumin.