Seattle 2013: Day Two

Tuesday, November the 26th.

[7:45 pacific]
The highlight of breakfast was a kind of Tazo tea that I had never tried before.  China green tips.  Yum.  Otherwise the breakfast offerings at the Talaris Conference Center were pretty remedial.  They had English Muffin breakfast sandies that had egg and cheese in them.  I had two, adding salsa to the second.  It was something to put in my stomach and go about the rest of my day from.

Looking out from the breakfast room at Talaris we looked at a serene pond scene, marked by a fountain running in the middle of the pond.  There were ducks.  As we walked from the breakfast room along one of the various paths at Talaris I had to stop and take a photo of one of the cracks in the pavement path.  The cracks, I think, are tree-root induced.  But much like any slowly developing crack around here—whether on the ground or in a tree’s trunk—the moss moves in the fill the void with its spongy, brilliant green frill.  I put the photo on Instagram but I didn’t feel like I really nailed it.

We went and saw B’s parents at what I will refer to as the BP Station (BP=B’s Parents).  They are a mere four-minute walk from Talaris.  They are renting a little bungalow here along a quiet street in the Laurelhurst area of Seattle, a neighborhood that is upscale but not gaudy.  JO is teaching a couple of quarters at the University, so this is a great spot considering the campus is about a ten-minute walk away.

There was some original, unique art on the walls of their place.  B and I were both particularly taken by a painting of a couple of barns.  I then perused the library and saw that the owners of the house had a healthy collection of books on hiking, flora, and fauna.

Walking back from the BP, I saw at first one and eventually a second enormous northern flicker.  A flicker is a type of woodpecker that spends more time on the ground than most woodpeckers would.  One of them was on the ground before we startled it.  The second was hanging around on a nearby chimney.  They were plump!  The markings I relied upon were the black throat band and the white rump-spot that is visible only when the flicker takes flight.

We were walking to the very nearby bus stop.  I had downloaded a Seattle transportation app at breakfast called Roadify.  It had a timetable in it, the only timetable we could find. We weren’t sure about the price for a ride.  B had looked online and said it would be $2.50.  But the sign at the stop for the 25 bus to downtown said it would be $2.00.  So when we got on?  It was $2.25.  We didn’t need a transfer but we didn’t stop the driver from handing us each one.

There is a bit of fog yet.  It’s cold enough to see one’s breath, but there is no wind.  There was no one on this bus when we got on.  One of the hikes in one of those hiking books caught my eye: along the straits of Juan de Fuca.  The photo had a vibe of: raw ocean landscape, with skeletons of whales washing up on shore.  But I ask B and she says that the Straits of Juan de Fuca are up in the San Juan Islands.

[Pend Oreille Rd.]
  The bus marquee lists what stop we are at or approaching.  Before I forget I want to remember seeing the indicator Kleenex peeking out of our Kleenex box in the bathroom this morning.  The indicator Kleenex isn’t white, but peach-colored.

I did not sleep well.  I fooled with the Keurig coffee for a few moments this morning before I respected the sequence and managed to get some coffee going.  We pass the Burke-Gilman Trail.  There are hills, students.  The University of Washington.

I haven’t been on a bus since Puerto Rico in January.  A couple of other people had gotten on but they just got off so we’re the only ones on the bus again.  The campus is cozy.  It’s like UT in Austin but with mist and moss and evergreens.  Just now we see some sunlight for the first time.

[15th Ave & NE 40th St.]
I was telling B—the streets and the avenues—what gives?  We stop at a stop where people are standing but they don’t get on; they want another bus.  We stop for a guy in a wheelchair.  Cigarette smoke.  There’s a gal with him who gets on first and quickly moves to fold up the seat where he’ll sit,  then does his seatbelt, finally sits behind him.  She is methodical and practised.

B points out the stadium, ascending in the fog.  We go over a bridge that marks the boundary between Lake Washington and Lake Union.  It’s [9:53].  I haven’t been on pacific time since…San Francisco, 2011.

There are lots of rock gardens.  Ferns.  The grass is still green.  The bus is winding and wending, lurching around turns.  I see piles of leaves but I’m wondering whether there is the sort of concerted leaf pick-up that we have at home.  Something tells me these leaves decay quickly enough.  A marina. This is a monied area we are going through, pretty similar to where Talaris and the BP are.  It’s not a country club sort of atmosphere but it’s money saying, “I want pretty.  I’ll accept some modesty in terms of house size.  And I’m willing to give up the garage and park my Porsche or Mercedes on the street if I have to.”

So many rocks.  Igneous, I’d say.  Thrown from the body of Helen?

[E. Shelby St.]

[I-5 and Roanoke St.]
We are taking a bus downtown mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of parking down there.  We’re gonna hit the market and then take a ferry to Bainbridge Island.  At some point I’m gonna have a cigarette in this cool damp and it’s going to be amazing.  Runners, cyclists, ivy coursing up trees.  We are getting closer.  There are bigger boats in whatever body of water I am now seeing.  I see the Space Needle.  A guy in a Seahawks jersey.  I had a beer last night called “The 12th Can.”  A Play It Again Sports.  The Salsa N’ Seattle Dance Studio.  [1200 Stewart St.]

Lofts.  A guy with a huge backpack gets on.  The people downtown seem to be, on average, older, harder up, carrying more.  Smoking more, too.  [Stewart St. and 7th Ave.]  There are some big hotels down here.

 We are on the ferry to Bainbridge, almost there.  One direction crisp, the next whiskered in fog.  We can see most but not all of Mt. Rainier.  We saw a big containership.  The view of the city behind us was good and got better.  Got to get off of this thing now.

Land of the unshaven sun.  Bus rides, ferry rides have whooped my ass.  My dogs is pooped.  I’m sitting down with this pen, this book, some Jim, and an Old Chubb.  I’ve got an hour and 15 minutes to be over at BP for dinner.  I’ve got a lot of thoughts, visions, and ob-v’s to to get down…It’ll be dark ‘fore long.  We’re opened the shade on our room.  I want to look out at those moss-trunked evergreens.  I didn’t do any shopping.  I looked at things in the market.  Scarves, leather pouches, photos, woodcuts, seafood; B looked at some jewelry.  But I was more in a mind to find some textures—old or odd paint, the more layers the better.  Found some.  I wanted to get down to the water.

I never had that cigarette!

There was a great place for one down on the water, not too far from Ivar’s where we had fried clams—but it was a little plaza with a fountain, a great view, and a half a dozen bums.  I would not draw a cigarette down there.

B has a bit of a cold.  Took Tussin, broke out in a handful of hives.  Other than that, she says she feels better.  Oh, the Puget Sound today—a mix of major container ships (Hyundai, Evergreen) leaving massive rolling wakes.  And sailboats, gleaming white against their steel blue backdrops.  And fishing boats, and trollers.  And the two ferries.  Ours to and fro Bainbridge…the other goes to…  I’m not sure—will check.

Best I could tell the Bainbridge ferry took a sort of curving arc of a trajectory, shaking with a deep thudding twang at moments it tried to define a more different line.  On the ay there we were up top, the “sun deck” and it got windy out at the front (prow?)  Windy and cold and that ferry was moving.  Seagulls flying overhead and planes—Boeing experiments out for their test runs.  They gleamed white, too.

On the way back we sat down in the “regular” seats—where the restaurant is, where the bathrooms are—maybe what I’d call the observation deck.  But it was actually quite sunny there.  The view was fine, just a bit clouded by whatever grime was on the window.  We could see all of Mount Rainier—it doesn’t have a sharp top—I wasn’t sure if maybe the very top of its cone was obscured by high clouds but B said, “No, that’s the top.”

It’s a big mountain.  What I never appreciate is how two mountain ranges are represented in the vistas gotten in Seattle—one out to the west/north, then one behind the city in the opposite direction, the Cascades.

It worked out very well today because there weren’t any mountains visible when we got down to Pike’s Place this late morning.  The fog lifted and voileé—Olympic Cascade Surprise.  Not to mention how West Seattle became visible right in my line of sight ad we finished our lunch at Ivar’s. I really wished I had some time lapse or a really long, patient view of it.  Because it was like a ghost ship  slowly becoming visible just…within…a day’s reach…

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