Friday, October 19, 2018

Looking around on a sunny day

In the autumn it's fairly easy to see evidence of insect and arachnid activity, such as the lovely web (slightly the worse for wear, but still functional) that practically shouted at me on my morning walk recently. Because of our beautiful, sunny days and cool nights that we've been having in the Seattle area, the morning's condensing mist tends to highlight the intricate work done by spiders.

An amazing sight was right by my garage today when I drove in. I've been watching this particular spider for several weeks because she dives behind the garage door molding each time I activate the garage door opener. It's clear she's greatly disrupted whenever I use my car. But today she was too busy binding up her latest ensnarement--an insect as big, if not bigger, than she is--to even be phased by my car passing close-by.

Last, but not least, is a leaf I saw on the ground, which caused me to do a double take. Some insect had eaten it in such as way as to make me to wonder if it might hold a hidden message from an alien. Maybe if I spent enough time, I'd be able to decode a wise phrase (maybe even a complete sentence), or a formula holding the answer to some big scientific mystery.






Saturday, October 6, 2018

Ok, already, it's autumn

"Yeah, I know, it's getting cooler.
The angle of the sun is lower.
The party is winding down. I've
heard it all before. So?"
 At first, there seems to be a resistance.

" All right, already--just a few more days, OK?
 It's gonna be awhile before I get back here."






"There's always one hanger-oner,
someone who doesn't want to leave the party."
"It's over! Don't you get it?"

"But it was so much fun, I don't want to leave."
Sometime soon, the hostess will turn out the lights and go to bed.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Leaning tower of cedar

THE ANGLE OF THE CAMERA MAKES
IT IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW
DANGEROUSLY THE TREE WAS LEANING
AFTER THE CITY MADE THE TRAIL
SAFE AGAIN, IT'S EASY TO UNDERSTAND
THE LEVEL OF DANGER THE TREE POSED.

Sometimes we take for granted how seriously a city takes public safety. We can rail about shortcomings of a city, but we need to notice the good stuff, too. These pictures were taken very near my house. 

They are a testimony to my city's responsiveness when a formerly healthy looking tree toppled onto a local, city-owned trail.

Thank you, City of Bothell. First, you blocked off the trail so unwitting walkers and bikers wouldn't be traveling under the unstable tree's trajectory, and then you had the worst of it removed. Let's hope the remaining section is removed before it falls of its own accord. Between the lack of rain and summer heat, a great many of our local trees are stressed.
 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The difference between NOTICING and SEEING

For almost a year, driving on the main drag between my house in Bothell and the three-mile-away "Town Center" (a charming, eclectic mini-mall) in Lake Forest Park, I've passed a sign announcing the office of  a psychic reader. The business is housed in what used to be a modest motel, now completely out of favor as a place to stay. The motel sagged into chronic "Vacancy" until one day it emerged as an affordable location for small businesses. It was with delight I noticed a spiritual advisor had taken up space there, and every time I passed the sign, I'd imagine maybe stopping one day to have my Tarot cards read. Believe it or not, having a Tarot reading is on my bucket list, but I'm just a little too chicken to actually do it.

When one of my sons was visiting this spring, we were driving to Town Center where he wanted to visit a fishing tackle store. He was looking out the passenger window, then began to chuckle as we passed the sign announcing the psychic reader's place of business in the converted motel. "What's funny?" I asked him.

"The sign . . .Spritual Advisor! That's hilarious. What--do you suppose--is a SPRIT-U-AL  Advisor?" he asked rhetorically. "How would that differ from a Spiritual Advisor?

I didn't believe him at first, thinking he'd misread it. But sure enough, closely noticed, it does indeed say "Spritual Advisor." And that just goes to show the difference between really seeing something--looking at it--and just vaguely noticing something.

I don't know anything about how the sign came to be, but now that I've seen it (thanks to my son), I think about the lesson it teaches me every time I travel that road. It's worth taking the time to really see what's out there instead of making assumptions based on a glance.  It's a great lesson in how to live the best life, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I'm not sore about not soaring . . .


Yes, that is an eagle flying! I know, it's like
an inkspot here. . . pictures cannot do justice.
I live in the land of eagles. Until the past couple of years, there has been an active eagle's nest on my street, approximately one-and-a-half blocks from my house. The nest is still there, but there have been no hatchlings for several years, despite what appears to be a nesting couple that claim the nest each spring atop a tall Douglas fir. Nevertheless, everyone on my street takes pride in 'the eagle tree,' and we all spend a lot of time looking up when we're outside near the tree. We have quite a population of eagles in the surrounding neighborhood, and it's thrilling to see their incredibly impressive wingspans and the gorgous dive-and-glide they do with such apparent ease.
And yes, the eagle is on the tippy top of the tree

On Sunday morning this week I walked along a trail that skirts the edge of Lake Washington. I stopped at a lovely little park (Lyon Creek Waterfront Preserve), accessible only on foot ( huge NO PARKING signs greet the visitor, although there is one spot marked for Disabled--a nice touch). Walking to the end of a dock that extends into the lake, I sat down to enjoy the serene view. Within seconds, I became enchanted by two eagles overhead, flying, then landing, then taking off again, swooping, gliding and occasionally calling to each other. Sitting quietly on such a beautiful morning in such a lovely setting made me grateful to be alive and to have the use of legs that propel me along walking trails and shopping centers, move to music at the WMCA, push the pedals of my car, climb stairs to my loft where I write, etc. Legs are great, but maybe wings would be better.

No wonder I adore the notion and image of angels; soaring overhead without the need of friction or traction would be a divine way to move through the world. Wings are great, but only, only if I could have arms too. I don't want to be a bird, even one as magnificent as an eagle. I would never trade the pleasure that comes from cradling an infant, cuddling a child, hugging a friend, or embracing a beloved grandchild. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Farewell, Senator McCain


Not that it's unique to me, but in the past several days I've noticed a lot of flag poles I previously haven't thought much about--maybe never. The first one to give pause was at the park across the river from my home on Friday evening. The time was right around sunset, and I was facing northeast. There was no wind, although I scarcely need to mention that to anyone seeing the picutre. The flag at half-mast struck me as incredibly sad, a fitting feeling, given the occasion. Losing a true statesman in this era of insults and mean-spirited accusations feels devastating.

The second picture is from the Farmers Market in Lake Forest Park, a Sunday event I never miss if I possibly can help it. I approached the market from a different angle this morning, because I had taken my morning walk along the shoreline of Lake Washington before shopping. There was a slight breeze, and the glory of the flag, even at half-mast, struck me. Yes, we mourn the passing of a great man, but wouldn't he have wanted us to see 'Old Glory' flying in this perfect way? What a fitting tribute. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Do clothes make the man memorable?

For years I gave my husband grief about his choice in casual shirts. They looked so similar! There were the blue-and-white tattersall button-downs; the blue-and-white striped oxfords, the blue-and-green tartan flannels. If you set them out in a row and squinted, it was just a blur of blues—light for summer, dark for winter. When we walked through a department store, I'd point out other-color shirts—maroon, olive, purple, crimson—colors he looked great in. Sure, he had a few different shirts, but the majority of them stayed in his preferred color palette and pattern schemes. Even the Hawaiian shirts he purchased over four trips in two decades had the same colors.

Fast forward four years to July 2018. I have just been appointed to help write a Voters’ Pamphlet statement. I will be working on the project with a man I’ve never met, so we set up an appointment with the Fire Chief to discuss the ramifications of replacing two fire stations in our city. I tell him to look for 'old with white hair.' We greet each other at the coffee shop where we’re meeting—shake hands, and get down to business. 

The next morning I am out walking on the trail near my home when a passing biker calls out, “Sallie? Hi!” The man turns around and pedals back to where I’ve stopped, and I recognize him underneath his helmet. Yes, it’s the man I’m working with on the Voters’ Pamphlet project. After we chat a minute, I say, “I’m glad you called my name—I rarely recognize even good friends underneath their biking helmets.”

“Oh, it was your shirt I recognized,” he says . . . and grins. As I laughed, I realized this was, indeed the same shirt I’d worn at the meeting the day before. I frequently wear ‘yesterday’s clothes’ for my exercise walk the next morning.

YIKES! They DO all look alike!
Fast forward to mid-August 2018. By now the man and I are well acquainted, having had a lot of communication over our project. He tells me he has watched a City Council meeting on YouTube, the very meeting during which we were both appointed to our project. He says he saw me in the audience. “Huh? I wasn’t on camera,” I replied.

“Not your face, but your back was . . . and I recognized your shirt,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. I laughed at this comment, but I could hardly believe it. Was I really wearing the same shirt then, too?  After I hung up the phone, I looked at the YouTube, saw the shot of the audience's back, and realized I was not  wearing the same shirt!  And then this whole topic came full circle. My closet rack has morphed into a monotone color scheme and similar patterns, just like my late husband’s. I may be the only person who thinks I wear a variety of clothing.

Takeaway:  Maybe the saying should be, ‘clothes make the [wo]man easy to remember,' especially if everything looks alike.'