Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 03/31/2024

I haven’t written the rundown for the last two weeks because I either had a psychotic breakdown or I had to travel for work. I’ll let you decide which of those is more likely. 

So let’s see what you all have been posting about these past few weeks. First off, we’ve tried to locate Sasquatch. We have this post. 

Someone notes of this picture that Bigfoot has quite a dong, and I realize I’m not the most observant person, but all I see is a tree?

There have been sightings, which islanders share. One says, “There’s supposed to be on Luana Beach Road according to a travel poster that came out about 15 years ago.” 

That sounds like a credible source. I’ll believe it. 

Someone then shares the pamphlet, which shows Bigfoot walking backwards so his tracks lead away from him. 

Others cite experts. One says, “According to the BFRO there was a sighting in Olalla, just across from us in Lisabuela.”

BFRO stands for The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. Their website is a hodgepodge of images and articles written in a dizzying array of font sizes and colors that don’t convey the sense of measured seriousness I was hoping for from an organization with such a cool name. 

But the poster isn’t bothered by the aesthetics. They say, “thanks I’ll check that out. My guess is if a bear can come across, so can Squatch.” 

Someone recommends the Bigfoot Mapping Project, which has a way more believable website, including an interactive map. Now this is the sort of scientific-looking gravitas that makes me prone to believe, because I am an absolute sucker for uniform font sizes and would be easily inducted into a cult, so long as they always used Times New Roman. 

Here’s a map from their site. 

My favorite part is that you can choose the sex of the bigfoot you saw, which strikes me as an intimate bit of knowledge to have about a cryptid.

Others know people who’ve seen Bigfoot with their own eyes, One person says, “ ask John”

To which the poster responds, “which John?”

Another person tells this story about something that was definitely not a bear. “I have a friend that had an encounter at Lost Lake years ago. He was inside a cabin when he heard it outside. He hid behind an open door when it came up and put his head in the door to look inside. He said he could see its breath in the misty morning air and heard its grunting before it walked off into the woods. He said it was really big and left behind very large footprints”

And speaking of animal sightings, there seems to have been some drama surrounding a coyote eating a cat. I can’t track down the original post, but based on comments on other posts, it must have been a call to arms. I have found the many posts that flourished in the aftermath. Here’s one anonymous post:

We argue about what is nature, and whether people are part of nature.One person says, “Nature also includes human interactions and those interactions are shooting those f*%$ing coyotes!🤣🤣🤣

Another commenter feels like that’s a bit of a stretch. They say, “super natural. I like, personally, in spring when all the shotgun flowers bloom and I can pick the perfect one and then hunt my prey.”

I have no opinion on when human activity stops being natural and starts being a blight on this planet. But I’m pretty sure what this next commenter describes is in the latter category.

They even include this photo, which is strikingly beautiful, yet ominous. 

I love that this person has held onto these images for ten years, and pulls them out for us as a cautionary tale. 

We then transition from hating on coyotes to hating on racoons. Someone shares this horrifying story, which I will now share with you. 

We then get back to arguing about coyotes. Someone says they are not native to Washington State, to which a commenter points out that cats aren’t either. They say, “Cats, coyotes, and humans, all predators doing their thing in your yard, which happens to be a layered mosaic of ecological disturbance, same as most of the properties on the island.”

Another person brings it down to my favorite level: quibbling about the meanings of words. They say, “How do we define being native? Everything and everyone is a mixed melting pot of transients. We come and go. Such is life. Out of hand? Bring out the guns. That’s the best answer. 🙏🏽 I swear we used to have a better way at finding solutions than just shooting things.”

I can’t tell if they are against shooting coyotes or in favor of shooting homebuyers from Bainbridge. 

The original poster comments,  “I’d love to hear the island’s recipe for coyote. ”Someone shares a recipe, which I couldn’t follow because it didn’t involve a microwave. 

Others say cats should strictly be outdoors, because if an indoor cat escapes, it’s been too coddled to know how to survive. They say, “They’ve been ‘protected’ from developing their solid, intuitive, feline skills. Frankly, I think that’s fucked-up. I think it’s neurotic human behavior – which gratefully, affects cats far less than the neurotic behavior folks tend to superimpose on dogs… or children, for that matter.”

As a deeply neurotic person, I can say that my animals have remained steadfastly themselves in the face of my worries, fears, and habits. Whether or not I’m messing up my children is something I’ll let their future therapists decide. 

We argue over whether we’re using other people’s grief as a cudgel to push our political views, or if we’re entitled to our views, whatever their source. Are we being disrespectful by saying that vengeance killing isn’t the answer to grief? 

Then someone writes a ten paragraph essay about how the original poster is totally wrong, an utter and complete fool, and a purveyor of misinformation. They set the record straight by clarifying that some of the local orcas eat fish, while others eat sea mammals. 

And we’re not content being mad at just wildlife. We have to be mad at people, too. We have this post: 

They always smile at me. Maybe the problem is you. 

People describe the hell of working retail and how it wears on you. If you’ve ever had the Sisyphean task of folding the same shirt over and over, just to see customers unfold it, hold it up against their chest, and finally drop it back down in a heap, then you know why you might stop smiling. 

Others have similar ideas. One says, “ I’m pretty sure people were just not meant to be under fluorescent lights surrounded by shelves and machines for 8 hours a day. it wears on one:”

And another, “If you had to deal with 2000 different personalities every day, and some are very unpleasant, you might understand. I don’t know if I could do it.”

Also, you can’t expect someone to be cheery and smiling for eight hours straight. As one person notes, “I always look miserable, no matter what I’m doing…”

And maybe they’re sad because a coyote ran off on their beloved pet cat the night before. As people are constantly saying on other posts, you never know what someone is going through. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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