Excerpts From “The Heart Of Vashon”
Literary, Poetry, September 2023

Excerpts From “The Heart Of Vashon”

“The Heart of Vashon: Sharing Our Stories” is a lovingly written tribute to the Island. The stories were originally solicited for a community-building literary project of the same name spearheaded by Mary G. L. Shackelford and Shirley Ferris in 2015. The book may be purchased at the Vashon Heritage Museum, Vashon Bookshop, and Vashon Pharmacy. All proceeds benefit the Vashon Heritage Museum.

Like An Oyster

By Barbara Gustafson

Like an oyster, Vashon’s edges are irregular yet well-defined, and its interior is filled with richness.

Oysters have the remarkable ability to deposit layer after layer of nacre over a foreign object until a smooth and luminescent pearl is formed. This rather miraculous creation reflects and refracts light producing a rainbow of light and color. Likewise, the children of this Island are built up layer after layer by the nurturing mantle of this island and its citizens. 

Cocooned by the amniotic blue Sound and cradled by the verdant richness of the temperate rainforest, our children grow and learn. A veritable wonderland of opportunities for exploration awaits them just outside their doors: beaches, ravines, forests, and fields. 

The Proposed Glacier Northwest Sand and Gravel Mine on Maury Island 

By Frank Jackson

It was the fourth-grader that had the most impact on me. Focused and determined, she testified before a roomful of adults and officials from the Army Corps of Engineers that a permit for the proposed Glacier Northwest sand and gravel mine on Maury Island should not be granted. Hers was essentially a whales-are-more-important-than-dollars plea. Dozens of others, including many eminent scientists, local leaders and ardent activists all presented compelling cases for denying the permit. 

Months later, the Army Corps announced their decision to grant the permit. From that point on, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the Glacier mine could be stopped. Still, many months later, it was my image of that fearless fourth-grader that had my wife and me finding black umbrellas and black sweatshirts and heading to a protest on the beach by the Glacier site. Ever-creative islanders had master photographer Ray Pfortner in the sky and a motley assemblage of Islanders arranged as a slightly deformed Orca on the beach below.

In August of 2009 our communal efforts were rewarded – a federal judge threw out the gravel mine permit. I’m down there somewhere, a small bent black umbrella amongst other Islanders who together care about this place and how it is left for our kids and grandkids. 

Poem by Donna Klemka

September 7, 2023

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