only on vashon – the weekly rundown 11/12/2021

We sometimes get really snippy with each other in the comments, but the one time we’re deeply supportive of each other is when we’re describing our experiences with supernatural phenomena.

Someone new to the island keeps hearing a sound on the North End like a “hollow whale call” which is distinct from the fog horns, rain, planes, and wind that they usually hear. The sound is “low and echoey, “ and lasts just a few seconds. They say that they feel silly asking, but little do they know, there is nothing silly about THE HUM. 

We have many ideas about what could be causing the noise. We suggest natural causes, like the great horned owl, an actual whale, seals barking, or the local sea lions, who’ve been especially vocal lately. One of their neighbors worries that it might be her dog, who likes to go out at night and howl off key at the deer. Another islander says, “Cows maybe….It’s not always a moo sound.”

Another thought is it might be a varied thrush, but the call for that bird sounds like a high-pitched train whistle that’s mad at me. 

We’re certain it’s not Sasquatch, as he tends to frequent Whispering Firs Bog. 

That leads us to believe it’s the midshipman, which is a type of toadfish. They can breathe through their skin, so they come up on shore to scream and mate. They’re nocturnal, so they scream all night. 

But the sound is so low and loud that it shakes the walls. We don’t have any animals around here big enough to do that, except the elusive Vashon elephant. 

So maybe it’s something mechanical. It could be a distant foghorn echoing, or nearly subsonic sounds from passing ships or submarines, or a train horn from the mainland.  

A pilot chimes in to tell us, “I frequently hear the lower frequency forward radiating compressor howl created when the power is reduced toward idle for descents.” So, plane noise. 

Though maybe we’re the ones making the noise. One commenter says that it’s the echo of people in the ferry line, en masse, banging their heads on the steering wheel because yet another boat is down.

And one islander shares with us that the noise affects her sleep, causing dreams full of images of a plane making a hover-stop over her house. 

But we all know, deep down, that it’s something supernatural. One islander says, “the plane/submarine explanations make the most sense, but the sound of the stitching between parallel worlds thinning is the sci-fi explanation I hold with!”

And the rest of us think it’s a ghost or aliens. We’ve discussed in the past our myriad encounters with ghosts, and we all know that Vashon is ground zero for alien shipwrecks. 

Failing that, it could just be JBLM, the military base we assume is behind every unexplained phenomena. A glittering comet could fall to earth, bearing opalescent unicorns who speak telepathically to our souls, filling us with a newfound understanding of our place in the cosmos, and we’d be like, “JBLM.”

Those of us who don’t live on the North End feel left out. We want to experience a mysterious, if somewhat irritating and intrusive, supernatural phenomenon. 

When we’re not solving mysteries, we’re baking pies. We’ve got a recipe for pie crust. The original post says, “how to make pie crust – homemade – all butter.” But then there were ingredients besides butter. Which is good, because I was imagining ending up making butter soup with apple slices and cinnamon. 

We discuss butter to lard ratios, and how to incorporate vodka or vinegar to make the crust flakey. You could even use something called leaf lard, which I refuse to look up because I want to remain in the blissful state of ignorance where this lovely oxymoron exists. 

And if you want to cook, you’ll need eggs, but the Facebook algorithm won’t let you sell them directly, as you can’t sell animals or animal products on their site. This is because the algorithm thinks we’re in the business of selling illicit animal parts like rhino horns and shark fins. 

We give a list of ways to get around this, by calling them  3ggs, hen fruit, farm fresh butt nuggets, chicken seeds, cackleberries, DIY quiche, and all natural kinder-surprise.

As one commenter says,  “you’re allowed to foment insurrection, but not allowed to sell eggs or fish.“

In other local news, Washington State ferries is getting a new boat!

Why not bring back the Evergreen State? I always loved the look of the exposed pipes from the partly disassembled, recommissioned-after-being-decommissioned boat

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. The shortlist of names for the new hybrid ferry boat has been released. The finalists are  Wishkah, Stillaguamish, Snoqualmie, Enie Marie, Stehekin and Muckleshoot. The public can comment on which name they prefer, and the final results will be unveiled in December. 

It’s always risky opening up naming to the internet public. When England asked for names for their new scientific submarine, the public overwhelmingly voted for Boaty McBoatface. Many were disappointed by our childish drive to name boats funny things, but I was proud of us, the people of the internet, for not choosing something offensive. 

Finally, there was a brief tornado warning, but once it  cleared, we shared our rainbow pics.

JBLM testing a new air-to-ground photon dispersion device
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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