Think About It: In May, the honors go to Sequim

One feature of performing the daily tasks required of care-bearers and household management is that not all tasks require my full attention, and I can enjoy surroundings that I might have otherwise ignored.

So far, nature has provided Sequim and surrounds with a beautiful May, complete with days of sunshine and nights of Northern Lights.

Nature’s colors are especially vibrant; greens are greener in whatever hue they present, and flowers are radiant in a rich palette of colors. Fragrant purple lilacs and colorful tulips faded to be replaced by tall, elegant irises of purples, yellow and oranges.

Mt. Baker dominates our mountains to the North and appears from our window like a melting snow cone floating above solid land. I am stopped for the moment and take the wonder of it in with a deep breath.

One such revere flavored with popups from the past evolved into an expanded contemplation of my life with mountains. I realized that most of my places of residence have been in the presence or view of mountains, sometimes dominated by a single mountain like Mount Baker or Mount Rainier and sometimes nestled between the Cascades and Olympics.

I was born in — and no doubt looked out the window of — Seattle’s Swedish Hospital at the Olympic Mountains. My childhood home was on Greenwood Avenue, a main arterial through what became north Seattle, and faced the Olympic Mountains.

Once out of college and my parent’s hair, I became somewhat of a home-hopper. I resided in ten more homes anywhere between three months and twenty-six years, the latter being our home in Sequim.

I added up the months and years for each residence and discovered that I lived less than one percent of my life in a residence without the presence of a mountain from a window.

No wonder I am so attached to mountains.

Well over half of the time — and those homes — were with husband Paul who shares my awe of mountains. We have hiked on mountains but have not attempted climbs, although we did make it to Panorama Point on Mount Rainier one sunny day and could see others reaching the top.

The day was great. When we came down, we came eye to eye with a marmot who was clearly bored by our presence. We, on the other hand, were in awe of the marmot and the mountain.

Fate and good fortune brought us to Sequim.

As close as Seattle is to the North Olympic Peninsula, we had not considered Sequim to be our final home. We made few visits to the west end, one to visit my dad who fished out of La Push and others when we took the long way home from Kalaloch or caught a ferry to Victoria.

Making the move

I became more aware of the charm of the area when I was contracted to do consulting around post-acute care services for what was then known as Olympic Memorial Hospital. I made visits in every season and soon was suggesting to Paul that we think about settling here when I was working less.

Then I received a call from the hospital’s CEO to recruit me into a position to strengthen the continuity of care between hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies.

It was an easy “yes” mostly due to the role, because I long wanted to put into practice a system of patient-centered transfers of patients through distinct levels of care.

That it was on the Olympic Peninsula made it even more appealing.

We selected Sequim as our home since we found a house we liked and I would work with services throughout the hospital district which included Sequim, Port Angeles, and the surrounds.

A house with mountains, sea and deer.

Here we are 26 years later, and happily in the same home with the same mountain view — and with many long-time and new friends.

Most people here in Sequim lean to a smile and a cheery hello. People turn in a wad of money they find on the street. Pioneers tolerate us newcomers.

Many of the readers of this column came to work or came to retire in our version of paradise. We who stay must forsake convenient shopping at Nordstroms, Penneys and now Sears.

We have Costco, Walmart, Amazon and unique locally owned stores and restaurants.

We have a strong medical system and several grocery stores. We have the same mix of political persuasions as other communities. We have made the national news over one or two scandals or controversies.

Our character is changing as population density increases. We are getting older, and people like me are adding to the average age requiring services. Our challenge is to attract and retain young families with affordable housing and excellent schools.

Our challenge is to maintain our natural environment and resources necessary to psychologically and physically sustain our population.

These are important problems requiring solutions for us to stay in this sanctuary of nature and enjoy all its beauty — big skies with amazing clouds, mountains, sea, wildlife and bounty.

We are reminded daily, especially this May, how lucky we are to be here. I happen to be submitting this column on a day of rain.

Even the rain is special and always welcome as an essential ingredient to the lush bounty of our community.

I will be here until I am not and hope any downsizing move will land me by a window with a mountain to hold my wonder until my final move to rest with Paul high on a mountain.

Bertha Cooper, an award-winning featured columnist with the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation and is the author of the award-winning “Women, We’re Only Old Once.” Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 25 years. Reach her at