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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

I was born in fog
welling from the coast’s cold waters,
mariners’ mournful cautions
echoing ’round my infant hollow,
earth-bound cloudbanks
tumbling over the ringing hills,
billowing down our mist-slick street,
infusing my new world with ancient distance.

I grow old beneath rain
birthed by distant, tropical seas,
cooled by winds scented with
salt and sand and sun-warmed kelp,
sped by sky-high rivers
to beat upon these tree-clad shores
and wash down to feed the tidal flats
with burbling, silted waters of myriad streams.

Between them is stretched a life
where my limbs grew fast as springtime rye
beneath shadows chased by auspicious suns,
where towering guardians of wood and stone
surrounded the humid masses or arid wild,
where my heart tasted honeyed love and sharp-tongued disdain,
traveling inland altitudes redolent
of mineral earth, verdant crops, and heady loam,
but never the cold, deep cradle
whose primeval memory flows in my veins.

Bound by water,
I have slept in many places,
but only near the sea
have I lived.

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Today I am thankful for:
Two brothers, all bundled up in matching navy blue hoodie jackets, out on the cul-de-sac in the bright drizzle, playing a game.

The game is:
Proceed in stages from a starting point (the truck at the near end) to a goal (the far end of the block), by one player tossing a Frisbee ™ as far as they can but not so far (or wide) that the other cannot catch it. It must be caught, or the disc goes back for a rethrow.

Eminently scalable, simple and elegant in rules, it’s a beautifully cooperative game. They win together, full stop. There is no losing. There are only gradients of victory.

Looks like they’re going for a team best, now.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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I can handle triple-digit heat. I lived in Jerusalem for a couple of years. I’ve camped in the deserts of California, Nevada, and Arizona. In summers of my youth, my folks dragged us all to northern Minnesota to visit relatives where the humidity was 99% and the temperature was higher.

Here in Seattle, we can all handle high-heat days. We regularly get temps in the 90s and often have a few days in the mid-100s.

In August.

But June? Jeez, give us a chance to acclimate, why don’t ya?

The month of June in Seattle is often referred to as “Juneuary” due to its tendency to flip-flop between typically rainy days in the low 60s and gloriously clear days in the mid-70s. The average temperature for June is 69°F (21°C).

Yesterday, 28 June 2021, it was 107°F (42°C), the peak of the most intense, most protracted heat wave in our history, and the city stopped.

We saw it coming. We had a week in the 80s, then a week of high 90s, and all the forecasts were warning us: Sunday and Monday, the streets would be lava.

And they were right. Concrete sidewalks buckled. Asphalt pavements melted. Insulation on wires began to sag and slough off. Expansion joints on bridges shut as the steel girders expanded.

Seattle was not built for this. Our infrastructure was not built for this. Our homes were not built for this.

In Seattle, our homes are built to retain heat, not dissipate it. The vast majority of homes have no central cooling, and more than half don’t have any A/C at all. Businesses, especially in older buildings, are often in a similar fix, relying on fans to keep the air circulating for some evaporative cooling.

I’m lucky. Fifteen years ago, when our furnace died, we replaced it and also put in central A/C. But even with the A/C blasting, it had to fight our insulated roof and insulated windows that kept the heat in, and the best it could do was keep the house ten degrees cooler than the outside. For many of our neighbors, it was hotter in their homes than outside, and it was an oven outside.

It’s been this hot before. I went to a Moody Blues concert at an outdoor venue on the hottest day of that year: 109°F. We sat in the steamy heat with our frozen bottles of water and our wine spritzers, but we survived. It was August. We’d had a two-month run-up of increasingly hot temps, and we were ready for it.

But this. This is a classic case of too much, too soon, and for too long.

We had some respite overnight. The winds picked up and some of that blessed marine layer came onshore. The overnight lows dropped into the mid-60s. I’ve had all the windows open since the cat woke me at 5AM, but the mercury is starting to climb, so I need to go around and button it up, to trap as much of that coolth and I can.

It’s 7:30AM.

Gonna be another scorcher.

k

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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AH, AS, AF

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we know from smoke.

And I’m not talking the cannabis type.

Recent years have educated us about the quality and character of smoke from wildfires, but these past two weeks have been like a full-on mandatory in-your-face master-class from an extremely pissed-off Samuel L. Jackson. (more…)

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When learning that some Seattle schools have closed down in response to COVID-19, and some companies (like mine) have asked that all employees who can work from home do so, an online contact wondered if this was overreaction caused by “blind panic.”

It isn’t.

Seattle is in the crosshairs. (more…)

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Winter.

A lot of complaining gets done in winter.

lot of complaining.

People around here are summer junkies. They spend months of the year pining for the sunlight, the warmth, the outdoors-y camaraderie of our twelve weeks of summer. They look back on July and August with a nostalgia bordering on delusion, as if it was a different era, a time out of legend when life was simpler and everyone smiled. Lost from their memory are the sleepless nights spent buffeted by the manufactured wind of oscillating fans, and of dodging from air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices in order to avoid the “unbearable” temperatures of 90+ degrees. They remember only the hikes, the cookouts, and those pleasant short-sleeved days when birds sang the sun from its bed, when the breeze brought a hint of salt from the Sound, and when wine-infused evenings lasted until tomorrow. (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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