I was looking for posts about snow, given the 6 or 8 inches we got overnight here. This one popped up from 2016. I barely even remember writing this, but the picture jogged my memory. I know that view well, from Colorado. I got married in 2007 with that backdrop. Anyway, it’s a fun little story. Enjoy.
This morning I watched while a coyote asked some innocent questions of four recalcitrant deer. The coyote was alone, and one of the young ladies was kind enough to step closer, probably to be sure she would be heard over the sound of melting snow and exhaling sage.
“Excuse me,” the little dog began.
The group of deer looked plainly put out already, so they gathered and drew mental straws to appoint a spokesdoe. She turned half to him – a lesser show of respect could hardly have been arranged – and said “indeed.”
Coy-dog lifted a paw and twitched a tall ear. His mien was all apprehension. “No, I just, I don’t know… Why did you say ‘indeed?'”
The deer turned back, half-lidded eyes under the shade of the foothills. She nibbled a columbine flower and said “why wouldn’t I?”
“Right. That’s fair.”
Little happened for a moment or two, save the scratching of a squirrel at the cold bark of a pine. An aspen branch jumped up, relieved of its heavy load of wet Spring snow. The plump little rabbit under the creosote bush did as next to nothing as possible. The coyote put his paw down, twitched his other ear in a way that looked like he didn’t mean to, and started:
“I was just -” the deer turned in no hurry and stepped twice towards the coyote. He loaded his haunches and glanced behind him, then back at the deer, and continued “-just wanting to wish you a good morning.”
The coyote turned back and carried his heavy tail down through the buffalo grass, away from the cresting sun. The deer, for some reason, waited a few minutes and then followed.
I dreamed of mudslides shrinking Lincoln Park.
A crumbled cottage made of stones.
Two eagles — too proud to scavenge
spawned-out salmon choking in the foam.
Dogs tore meat from a beachbound seal.
A Jamestown Chief spit on a car –
The next best thing
he squeezed through sour teeth
to wishing on a star.
What’s history to the mud, anyway?
What’s tradition to the sea?
An upturned trash can on the beach –
another homeless camp along the street.
The Cascades turned their back on me
and hid thunder from the skies.
just like that
choked to runnels.
Tribal rage gone saturnine.
I think (says the guy who railed about guessing at things he doesn’t know) that the coronavirus gestalt is going to undergo a significant change here in the coming months. maybe even weeks, as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach.
This may be the only thing I’ve been right about from the start (remember if you will that my earliest predictions were for a couple of months of panic, then a return to normal). And I’ve been saying for a while now that the election was going to mark a change in both the public and the official/governmental sense of the plague. It has. We’re at a point now when everything plague related has been rising steadily – positive test results, deaths, hospitalizations, the reproductive number – all of it. And yet, we are loosening up. There has been the lip service done about limiting family visits and travel during the holidays, but there are no new restrictions, no new closures, nothing more than some slightly more insistent admonitions to wear masks and keep your distance. COVID is far worse in Washington state than it has been since the beginning, and now the Governor is talking about sending kids back to school by March. It’ll be just the K’s and 1st graders and any students with special educational requirements, but in a climate where every sneeze had the Capital boarding up another public window, starting the back-to-school process during peak pandemic activity is a curious move, to say the least.
And it may just be a function of time and complacency, but the public in general is less fervent about it. Comments on COVID articles aren’t as high-strung and vitriolic as they were two months ago. People are taking bigger trips (while of course checking all the plague-safety boxes they can), staying gone longer, having more visitors, etc. All, again, while the pandemic is worse than it has ever been. How do we explain this?
I explain it, of course, in the way that best highlights my prescience: by saying that the plague’s political expediency has evaporated, post-election, so the utility of high-visibility reactions and measures has disappeared almost completely. And you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no way to say what would have happened if Trump had won (HE DID WIN VOTER FRAUD STOLEN ELECTION NEVER GIVE UP BUT ALSO I CAN’T BELIEVE HILLARY DIDN’T JUST SHUT UP AND ACCEPT THE ELECTION RESULTS IN 2016 WHAT’S WRONG WITH DEMOCRATS ANYWAY), but I did say that the plague vibe would dissipate more quickly and completely with a Biden victory (HE DIDN’T WIN YOU LIBTARD HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH AMMO I HAVE).
I remember October, when the kids went back to full soccer practice and had some games scheduled because the two week number of positive cases was below 25 per 100,000 people. Today it is 496.2 per 100,000. In June a jump like that would have had us locked down tighter than a frog’s butt, and yet the kids are going back to school, and nobody’s screaming, nobody’s protesting.
I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but all evidence seems to point to COVID reactivity being strongly dependent upon election proximity.
The Boy wasn’t yet a year old, The Girl just shy of four. Whistler, British Columbia. Christmas, 2011.
“He looks out the window a lot, Papa.”
“He sure does.”
“Why do you think he does it?”
“Well, do you remember when I told you that his spirit was a miracle?”
“I think so. I think you said it was a miracle because it hasn’t done anything twice.”
“That’s right. Because for a tiny moment, it was the only thing in the world that had not done anything twice. And now there’s a world full of things that he hasn’t seen even once. Turns the world into a kind of miracle for him.”
“That’s why he laughs at it?”
“No, he’s laughing when he looks out at it because he wants to do everything he can with it to make it laugh like he is. He doesn’t know where it comes from or how it starts or anything about it except that he wants it to keep going. That’s how you feel when you are tiny, and new, and haven’t done things twice or seen things once, and it’s the part of it that’s the same for him as it is for us.”
“If it’s the same, Papa, then how come you don’t laugh so much?”
“Jeez, how old are you again?”
“Three and a half.”
“Hm. Well, I guess I don’t laugh so much because after a while you find out that some things don’t laugh back. And after a longer while, after too many things don’t laugh back, you just get tired.”
“Too tired to laugh?”
“Too tired to laugh, baby. But we remember that the world was a miracle for all of us, once. We remember that we saw new things everywhere we looked, and we expected everything to be laughing just because we already were, even though it has been too long, sometimes, since anything up and laughed with us. That’s what Christmas is, sweetie: Being old and tired and still laughing, for a day, like we did when we were still playing with miracles.”
“But I’m not old.”
“No, you’re not. And you never have to be, because to your brother you are everything he sees when he looks out the window. And laughs.”
The orca’s tongue is tattooed in crowblack ink
with the whole history of the Hoh
and the names of Nisqually who hunted there
in the sacred space between hawk and bear –
hung to cure in a frozen smoke.
In the blackfish grin, written on salmon skin,
lives the library of the Lummi
and the forgotten words to S’Klallam songs
sung in the fog from which they’re drawn –
then gone like a dream’s unblooming.
But the orca speaks, too, the newer words
of submarine and ferry boat
and the sharp dialect of high skylines
that replace the flesh with the crystalline –
concrete terms being asked to float.
A blackfin ripple loops cursive in the bay
as the orca pens the Pacific tome
and writes Sound verses beneath the surface
in a Salish hand whose arc is perfect –
the scrimshaw line of tooth and bone.
It’s called mass timber, and there are some gorgeous examples:
It would be a nice contrast/offset to the concrete and cranes of the port. Visually speaking, this section of downtown is drab, frantic, ugly, and uninviting, and that’s putting it mildly:
That’s the bridge as it currently stands. The camera is pointed generally southwest, with the bridge heading into West Seattle. SoDo in the foreground. SoDo is one of those decaying industrial areas that has a few clubs, craft cider breweries, and artisanal, small-batch, hand made trucker hat and candle companies trying to survive even in the best of times, and is therefore considered “good” by people savvy and perceptive enough to have eschewed the strictures of mass commercialism and the creep of the suburban mindset. Me? I’ve lived in the suburbs. It’s very nice there, if occasionally stale. But stale in the way that is more of a sustained, unbroken, and therefore rather unexciting, comfort and warmth. So of the suburban mindset, I say creep on.
I have taken the internet browsers off of my phone. A one point there were three of them. Sometimes you open a site and things are wonky, so you try it in a different browser. Redundant systems, etc. I had Safari, Edge, and Firefox. I was tired of going to my phone all the time, so I deleted them. It’s been 3, maybe 4 days, and it’s amazing how much less time I spend looking at my phone, reaching for my phone, stopping by the phone when I walk past it in the kitchen, etc. It’s a nice piece of freedom. There is still email on there, and a host of other apps, of course, but I’ve turned off notifications for almost all of them. My connection to the phone has decreased far more than I expected, just with that little change. I was actually thinking about getting a basic flip phone next time around, but there’s an awful lot of texting going on for actual, necessary communications, and I remember what it was like to do that on the alphanumeric keyboard. No thank you. Plus, pictures. I have a real camera, but by God it’s as big as a, well, a real camera. It’s not for all occasions. There are those who will say that we need to enjoy moments without introducing our technology to them. Without pulling our phones from our pockets, snapping a picture, adding a filter and a clever comment on instagram, and then moving on. I agree, and that’s why I don’t have social media (except this). I don’t have a Facebook account, so I don’t have a cognitive link between a sunset and a Facebook account*, such that I cannot look at the former without thinking of the latter. I just have the sunset. Also, when those moments are real enough, big enough, you don’t tend to think of your phone when you’re inside of them. It helps, also to not be living forever on the cusp of your next tweet.
*OMG that’s right, I do have a FB account, but it’s only there for messenger – still my best way to stay in contact with Coronafornia.
Speaking of Coronafornia, what’s the virus doing, you ask?
Same. Lots of positives, no deaths, negative correction to hospitalizations. If we reacted this way to every mostly harmless inconvenience, the government wouldn’t allow us to schedule our own oil changes anymore, much less do them ourselves in the driveway. We’d get a text from the state notification system the moment the oil light came on in our cars, and a window of time within which we must check in at the nearest DOT staffed service station in order to have our engines replaced by windmills and a one-month unlimited light rail pass.
-Is mass timber a church for trees, Comrade Citizen?-
Here’s what I’m learning on piano right now. I’ll give it to you in Spanish, because it’s French:
La Candeur translates to frankness, candor, sincerity. So I will be frank with you: I have not found my inner virtuoso. I do like it though, practicing and playing the piano. The repetition doesn’t bother me, and playing even a simple thing well is very gratifying, satisfying. The combination of the sound with your own fluid movement is, well, beautiful.
Yesterday, Gerard had a video up that spoke about beauty, specifically in architecture:
The same has been my position on our West Seattle Bridge situation from the beginning. On October 14th I wrote:
I think it’s high time – and an absolutely perfect opportunity – to be ambitious. This thing’s gonna cost a fortune no matter what, so let’s be bold and creative and build something beautiful.
It won’t happen. The Mayor is announcing the decision today on whether to repair (so much faster! Mildly positive groans of approval rise from the zombies) or replace (muh take too long say large-browed, cave dwelling, non binary life form with no defined gender roles). We’ll wind up getting most of the original bridge still standing, but painted with rainbow flags and BLM slogans, because those are the glue that holds societies together (just ask the rioters):
People say repair now, because speed is of the essence – COVID won’t last forever, and the commute will become untenable (I’m joking, they don’t know that word. They say “shitty”). But let’s face it, there will be no sudden throwing of the switch. There will be no COVID Friday where the Governor or the President says “every restriction ends midnight Eastern on Sunday,” and the roads flood with commuters at the same levels as last January. Thousands of people (Tens? Hundreds of thousands?) will never go back to the office again, certainly not with the same regularity. And most of them are the ones who are already doing it. And I’ve been a part of this new West Seattle to downtown commute. It’s bad at times, yes. Awful. But it was awful before, too. Now it’s just awful with a different view and more present disdain for the Mayor.
Ok, ok. Off to get groceries. Trader Joe’s is the cheapest place in town to get them, and by noon it’ll be picked over. Plus, getting there early is the only way to avoid having to wait in line to enter. I’m so sick of this.