It’s a beautiful late-fall day: warm and clear with a hint of breeze, a cherished last vestige of summer this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. “The Mountain is out,” as the locals say—the mountain in question being Rainier—and its 25 glaciers glittered in the sun as we made our way across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Other mountains are out too; the jagged wall of the Olympic Range rises above the tree line at the far end of the idyllic 2,400-foot grass airstrip on which Dawn and I are walking. Birds are singing, butterflies are flitting. A dog romps in the tall grass to one side of the runway, a future playmate for Piper perhaps. There is no sign that downtown Seattle is only 16 nautical miles away. One of the hangar doors is open, the nose of a Cessna 180 protruding and a restored Stinson 108 tucked carefully behind. My kind of people, clearly. Two-thirds of the way down the treelined strip, a grass taxiway branches to the south. At the intersection of taxiway and runway is an undeveloped plot of land, 2.3 lightly sloped acres in all, with a small meadow clearing ringed by tall handsome firs. In my mind’s eye, I see a cozy timber-frame home rising amidst the trees and a hangar at the edge of the taxiway, an old taildragger of our own out front. This is my dream, but I am not dreaming. An hour ago, we signed the closing papers on this land; it is the site of our future home.
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