Ahhh, Washington! The state, that is. Now this is a place we could live. We’ve been here many times, and seem to keep coming back. That should tell us something. But…we haven’t experienced the full range of seasons, and that’s a project we plan to undertake in the coming year or so: identify those special places that we feel we might call “home” for a while, and then settle in each one of them for a trial run. Not everyone is lucky enough to have that flexibility and we’re grateful that we do. We blew through Washington this time, staying with friends in Seattle who are long time East Coast transplants, and excellent, practical guides to their city. What did we find or reconfirm this time around? Good coffee? Check! Great farm markets? Check! Water sports? Check! Museums? Check! And the list goes on, and on, and on. Will Seattle or somewhere close by prove to be “our spot?” Time (lots of it there, in the rain, and the wind, and the gray, and the sunshine…) will tell.
We followed up on a serendipitous meeting we’d had while in the Grand Tetons, where we met artist Ian McMahon, who had just installed “Cascade” at the Suyama Space (http://www.suyamaspace.org/installations/ian-mcmahon-cascade) in downtown Seattle. We visited the installation of two fragile, beautiful plaster curtains, which were illuminated by the sun coming through ceiling height windows…curtains that draped like fabric yet were solid and lovely, perplexing, intriguing.
Art exploration was a theme on this visit to Seattle, where we encountered formal works like Ian’s, and found others – like the popsicle street sculpture and the fragile shattered window, below.
We left Seattle determined to get back to the Lewis & Clark Trail, which we’d last seen in South Dakota, many weeks ago. We headed south from Seattle, planning to rejoin the expedition’s path near the mouth of the Columbia River, at a place William Clark called “Dismal Nitch,” pretty much summing up how they felt as they finally approached their goal of the Pacific Ocean in late 1805. No fresh food, rotting clothing, miserable weather, and a race to see if they could reach the coast before the final trading ship of the season had come and gone. They didn’t. A storm kept them confined to the north shore of the great Columbia, and they missed the ship, though as we know, the Corp of Discovery eventually did reach the magnificent shore of the Pacific Ocean. Dismal Nitch was still kind of dismal in 2014 – we were there on a windy, misty, gray day, and we spent just a few minutes looking at the river and signage about the Expedition, then zipped across the river to Oregon and the Corp of Discovery’s Fort Clatsop – their winter home. We were now in Oregon, where I (at least) have high hopes of making our own fortuitous discoveries!
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Martin Buber