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Archive for the ‘Seattle’ Category

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake and, once again, I am in San Francisco. I did not plan this visit to coincide with the anniversary of that event—a shallow 6.9 temblor that brought down bridges and freeways, tumbled hundreds of homes, and turned large sections of expensive land into quivering jelly—but here I am. With the anniversary top-of-mind here, it hasn’t helped that, since my arrival on Sunday, we’ve had two minor quakes (registering 4.5 and 4.7). Put together, it’s made the locals a bit . . . jumpy. (more…)

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My cathedral is made of trees, but it has seen the downslope of my attention. Its pillars are still sound, standing strong through storm and summer heat, but the branches and leaves of its soaring roof have become crowded, ragged, thick with deadwood and duff.

Its nave and transept, too, once clear and open, are now overgrown as the plantings set down in years past have grown relentlessly upward, reaching out, filling the vaulted space.

The reason for this deterioration has been my inexhaustible neglect, piled year upon year, as life and events sapped me of my faith, my devotion, my love for this quiet place. Leaving nature to do as nature does has only compounded the situation, as self-sown volunteers sprang up in open spaces, and Seattle’s often rough sea-borne winds snapped off limbs twice as long as I stand tall, dropping their five-stone weights from the canopy down onto the hapless undergrowth below. (more…)

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Across the Sound there is a place where, when the day is young, I can walk the forest trail and emerge, my shins wet from wading through ferns heavy with dew, and climb the concrete steps to ramparts set high atop a bluff overlooking the steel-grey waters of the Salish Sea. (more…)

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Winter storms Maya and Nadia came and went, leaving Seattle bound in white.

They came in right on schedule, dumping nearly a foot of snow in the downtown area, and up to two feet of it out in the ‘burbs.

Here on my cul-de-sac, we had a foot of snow on the street, helpfully deposited in three episodes, so we could all add multiple snow-shoveling sessions to our weekend workouts. Kids sledded, snowfolk were built, and internecine battles raged from yard to yard, filling the air with squeals of carnage before parents called the belligerents in to dinner. On Saturday, we had an overnight low of 9°F (-13°C), but then the temps staged a return to something more reasonable. In my back garden, the spruce lost two more twenty-foot-long branches and dozens of little ones, and the cypress boughs were hanging so low I thought we’d lose several there, too, but they bounced back once the snow slipped off.

On Monday, the city came through with plows to clear the arterials, which is great, if you live on an arterial, but most of us don’t. One plow actually came up our cul-de-sac and our hearts soared, but it just turned around and left without making a damned bit of difference. So no plow. No sand trucks. No salt. Just a hey-how-ya-doin’ wave from the plow-driver as she abandoned us side-street residents to look after our own.

Today (Wednesday), I had to go into the office, so I bundled up and walked to the bus stop. The street was a combination of corn-snow, slush, and ice, and it was a real dilemma, deciding whether to trudge through the unsullied drifts like a Neanderthal, or do the crisscross pony-walk like a runway model down the ruts left by the tires of the few cars who’d braved our block. Going up the hills was relatively easy, jamming my toes into the snow to make steps as I walked the steep incline, but downhills were dodgy, and I learned that while walking like a penguin (keeping your center of gravity over your front foot) is a good way to avoid slipping, it’s tiring. I wouldn’t make a very good penguin.

But I made it to the bus stop with only a small bit of slippage and hand waving. The bus arrived, chains clacking against its wheel wells, and we rumbled on down the plowed arterial. On the way, every side street was either a slushy, rutted mess, or just plain snowbound. The college down the road brought out a backhoe to scrape the parking lot clear as best it could. On the main roads, all the cocky I-know-what-I’m-doing idiots had been weeded out (or quickly educated) and remaining drivers were being fairly responsible. For pedestrians, though, it is still an obstacle course, and will remain so for at least another couple of days.

The worst is past, though.

Onward.

k

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It’s quiet out there now. The literal calm before the storm.

Later today, Seattle is set to receive a buttload of snow, so I went out to provision our larder for an expected week of housebound activity (though I don’t think I got enough wine). The experience perfectly illustrated Seattle’s love/hate relationship with the white stuff. (more…)

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I had a bit of a contretemps this week because . . . the internet. The subject was introverts living in an extrovert world. And because it was . . . the internet, naturally, it all began with a meme.

A friend posted a bold-lettered graphic which, in essence, asked the question, “Why does society expect introverts to be talkative and all friendly-like, but never expects extroverts to shut the hell up?” In fairness, it was a bit more acerbic and snarky than my paraphrase, but like I said . . . the internet.

Most folks liked or laughed or commented with the equivalent of a knowing head-nod, but one person took umbrage. “You guys are describing obnoxious people, not extroverts.”

Well . . . no. Not in my experience, anyway. (more…)

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Life always has the capacity to surprise. Sometimes the surprise is delightful, and sometimes it most definitely is not. This past weekend, life did what it does best, but thankfully this surprise was of the delightful strain, as I’m pretty sick of the other type. (more…)

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