The twisted resilience of enduring remains

Nature often plays with our imagination, leading our wandering minds to double take and circle around, checking to both look closer at details an observe the widest landscape. We notice the natural developments of trees, bushes, rocks presenting the beauty of patience, giving a long story to how its ecosystem builds itself, coexists until practical use comes to an end, then very slowly comes apart.

And even them remains stories in the shapes of old, long after life, passing on its place for some new telling. So goes forth, what you make of the enduring remains, leading to new inspirations. And like much of what I have written on this twisted resilience, is not exactly clear yet.

– Orion T

The above pictures are from a recent hike at Whatcom Falls Park, near Bellingham, Washington. Highly recommended for casual hikers and satisfyingly short-term wanderlust.

The summer view from Rattlesnake Ledge

The view from Rattlesnake Ledge nearly atop Rattlesnake Mountain, is worth the medium level hike from Rattlesnake Lake.

I love the Pacific Northwest mountain areas, with its many hikes offering forest blanket views. The trail to Rattlesnake Ledge is a most popular one among visitors to the Seattle area, with easy access parking and the lovely small town of North Bend nearby.

Rattlesnake Ledge, located in the Snoqualmie Forest, takes about 2-3 hours with good pacing with 6.5 km (4 miles) total. The peak is 2078 feet high (about 1/3 of a mile). Much of the trail is stead uphill workout, a good starter for those less experienced with mountain hikes.

However, it’s not a place I best recommend on the best, sunniest days. It’s a spot that tourists hit often, and the very top can be dangerous when there’s two many people. The rocky area has no rails, no flat platforms, and no room to be reckless and stupid. It’s better to go here on a weekday, maybe more on the morning. People have slipped and fell to their death from this ridge. Take your time, have shoes with good traction, and stay cautious of where you step.

Other details…

See those little dark spots through the water of Rattlesnake Lake? Those are mostly tree stumps, as that lake was a small, short-lived logging town over a century ago, eventually flooded out. When the water level is much lower, the stumps are visible and otherworldly to witness. I wrote and took pictures from a previous visit, here.

That’s the view from the other side of the lake. Over there is Mount Si, a place I have hiked many times, but never made it to the top. Someday for sure!

Beautiful up close texture of the the ledge’s rock side. Surely, a geologist can share stories of this spot, just from studying details here.

A little plant, growing out from the side. Alone and enjoying the view for the rest of its life.

A very deep crevice within the ledge. You can climb through it to get to a small, personal view from the ledge. But, be extra careful getting through and don’t bring attention to yourself to others above enjoying the view. The little crack can only handle 2-3 people at a time and can be very dangerous and problematic for others trying to get back.
Just me, taking a selfie. I was with visiting friends from Los Angeles, taking the time out to enjoy the best of the Pacific Northwest!

That’s all for now. I have more pictures from more recent adventures, with some surprises. I also have some video, but need more time to sort through clips and edit. Keep adventuring in the meantime, and enjoy what nature offers you!

– Orion T

The timelessness of a good summer time

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”

― Famed writer George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

When I was a little one newly understanding the concepts of time and seasons, I never stopped to realize that I have only one summer a year. Every summertime from then on, such a thought has escaped me until now. I measure my time in years, when I should be measuring in this favored time of escape and letting my inner child run free under the piercing, brightest sun. Every summer enjoyed is a complete year in my growth cycle (also, my birthday happens at the end of a summer cycle).

I would love to enjoy over 100 summers, but then 10, 20, 30, and eventually 40 has been a wonderous blessing. There is a remaining inner child part of me, that finds myself wanting to play in some water and kick up some sand. Enjoy the summer as I should. Maybe someday should I get through 50, 60, 70 or eventually 80 summers and beyond, I shall build a mighty sand castle and declare myself king of the beach, being very wise yet childish to those around me.

Orion T

The picture above is recent of Alki Beach in West Seattle, my favorite beach of the Seattle area. The Spidey-bike belonged to some little girl, learning how to ride.

Living the hottest day in Seattle

108 F degrees happened in Seattle today, breaking an all-time record for hottest day in this city. Portland also broke its all-time heat record at 115 F degrees. This heat wave in the Pacific Northwest is excessive!

Yet, I kept myself cool for most of the day. I went out for a few errands around noon, finding that lemonade was a sold-out commodity in the downtown area. No lemonade seen on any shelves of some local stores I checked, nor at any Starbucks or popular eating areas (or, so I was told by a few local venders). I was craving lemonade, and settled on just making my own later.

For the rest of the day, I stayed indoors blocking out the sunlight through all my windows, and keep my oscillating fan on setting 3 and very loud. I devoured four popsicles.

I hope everyone else stuck with this weather made it through, maybe found a fun way to keep cool. I think today is the height of the rough weather, and hope we can back to usual unpredictable mix of clouds and sun at 70-85 F soon.

– Orion T

The above is picture is of Westlake Avenue, through the top of an clear sippy cup of iced water.

A sweet, full day at the beach

It’s a most excellent day, to be at Alki Beach here in West Seattle.

The temperature is perfect at about 75 Farenheit, so expected to climb to about upper 80s later on. Here, is a sweet steady breeze. It’s not overcrowded with people yet. And best of all, the day is free for me.

That means I have time to plan, to figure out future travel ideas (especially on filming!) . Hardest parts that I must ponder will be money, and time. Also, going to do some freestyle writing and light reading.

So, I must put down my phone soon, and make the best of my awesome surroundings.. I hope your day is pleasant as well, and enjoying some great summer weather.

Orion T

Hello ice cream, my old friend…

One of the best things about hot weather, is the craving for some ice cream to best counteract the bursting sun. Living through modern times, it is a constant appreciation that I usually have access and monetary funds for this wonderful confectionery concoction.

Such sensation has been constant since my earliest days of discovering various forms of sweetly tastes. My favorite ice cream flavor in my adolescent days, was some mint chocolate chocolate chip.

Then for my teenage years, my ice cream preference was anything that had berry bits. Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, often yes!

Through my growing adult years, I came to appreciate lemon flavor or peanut butter mixtures, but not both together. I didn’t quote care for nuts or almonds though.

Since moving to Seattle, I discovered the joy of sea salt flavor in my ice cream. Usually with chocolate or caramel, which works well with non-dairy store brands too.

Then came this sea salt caramel (see above picture) with cupcake bits, at the nearby Cupcake Royale (close to Pike Place Market). This is the next stage of ice cream joy of my life. It’s amazing, and perfect for now.

What’s your favorite scoop?

New Video, exploring the Danny Woo Community Garden

Check out my new video, now up on my Traveling Orion Youtube channel!

This latest is my continuing stroll through Kobe Terrace Park, to the adjacent Danny Woo Community Gardens. For over a quarter-century, these collected plots of land have serviced the local community, and add much character to Seattle’s International District’s local culture! Definitely worthwhile, for anyone who enjoys gardening or just feels the heart and soul of it all.

Meanwhile, I did a little refining on my post-production editing routine, figuring out more on the subtleties of timing and spacing. I think I need a bit more practice and learning, but I will get there. I also added some music (free use provided by YouTube resources) at the end credits. I like it.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

Looking closer and closer, at life

Waiting for the bus, I looked to some large dandelions nearby.

And then. I decided to have a little fun with the macro settings on my camera phone. Most impressive, and revealing!!

I will have more fun with this, again and again for random days ahead.

May the 4th be with you, always

Another busy day today, but I took some time to enjoy this May 4th tradition that is now Star Wars Day.

I spent my lunch and later evening reading a some short stories out of Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, a stellar anthology of 40 short stories from 40 writers, focusing on the viewpoints of non-main characters present during the events of Star Wars: a New Hope. I really love this idea, and enjoying pretty much every story so far (halfway through). I highly recommend for anyone who loves Star Wars, or just enjoys a good short story where anyone in a galaxy far, far, away has a special story to share.

The day is almost over now, but I love Star Wars every day. It’s just one of the many great things that binds us together. and inspires me to keep adventuring. And remember…

New Video, Early Springtime Exploration at Kobe Terrace Park!

I recently finished a local move to a bigger, more spacious apartment. After that, and a break from my busy life, I finished editing and publishing a little video I shot in early April. This comes in two parts. Part one is centered on the beautiful Kobe Terrace Park in Seattle’s International District during a short period of cherry tree blooms. Part 2, will be on the nearby Danny Woo Community Gardens!

Check out part 1 below. Part 2 will be done soon. Enjoy!!

An important epilogue to a sad story

Yesterday, former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on two counts of murder and one for manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, an African American man whose near last words were, “I can’t breathe.”

And from that day the verdict referred to, on May 25, 2020, ignited a fury for social justice needed for Floyd and many others whose black skin color share a common trait, for having their lives disregarded by law enforcement officers. What is often noted, is that people often judge African Americans apprehended by police officers as “thugs”. “druggies”, and whatever else makes privileged folk concerned, when one does the slightest act of suspicious or illegal behavior. So with such judgement, there is a constant reminder that their lives are more threatened in police confrontations, as they may not survive to get any necessary due process. And often, there is no crime or prior suspicion. Black lives, like any other, need to get go for a nice walk, get a slice of pizza, get a good night’s rest, and other human things. And they matter on the basic principles to be judged on the same level as others confronted by law enforcement.

George Floyd had a life of many ups and downs, which sadly lead to some bad choices involving criminal activity, and drugs. However, he did often try his best to turn his life around, and sometimes succeeded in being a positive influence to others at times. He was a mentor, a father, a blue-collar working class man, and a loved African American whose potential to better himself and others was robbed by Derek Chauvin. He just need better days ahead, to work his life out. Sadly, Derek Chauvin robbed him of that opportunity.

So, Derek Chauvin was given his most important day for due process, and found guilty. Prison will give Chauvin a time to reflect and dig deep on the wrongness of his actions. His might even appreciate that he was given this chance to live through it, and do other human things. I will care less for him, but will appreciate any further good that comes out his guilty verdict.

But what of the rest of us? What do we get out of this? We shall see. In the meantime, also keep in mind other fresh names since, to other similar sad stories: Daunte Wright, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Breonna Taylor.

The above picture was from a sidewalk memorial in Seattle, a few weeks after the death of George Floyd. Pictured with George Floyd is Breonna Taylor, another life senselessly lost from wrongful police actions in 2020.

A beautiful springy spring, and its fresh cherry blossom blooms

I have finally let myself be immersed in the glory that is the spring season of the Pacific Northwest.

I feel a bit late to the party, but also just in time for some fresh blooms. Cherry blossoms are around in Seattle, for about a good few weeks to appreciate, then on to other spring blooms. But for now, I must walk, and peek, and listen, and study, and breathe in the light breezy air between the many trees around. I see many are gaining new leaves after losing so many to the long, harsh and lonely winter.

For now, back to the blossoms, look!!

Each one of the countless, can be appreciated. More of this, soon!

The above pictures are from a recent visit to a favorite little park by a very noisy freeway…Kobe Terrace park in the International District of Seattle. I have shared about it on travelingorion.com more, on a snowy day, after a snowy day, and other days of spring blossom renewal. This time, I did something a little different, which I plan to share here soon.

Orion T

Being stuck in a winter state of mind…

Today is the first day of Spring, but the picture above does not reflect today.

It’s about a month old, from the last full day I had outside, February 13th, 2021. Since then, it’s been parts of days on weekends and not much else because my busy life, often full of messaging chains, video conferences, and work. Also, the last two weeks I mostly spent in a 14-day stay at home quarantine, as part of the ongoing pandemic.

I did not test positive Covid-19. However, someone I know very close that I was in contact with did. I tested negative, but through advisement from others and the county, I went into a 14-day quarantine. This was over the possibility that Covid-19 could develop late. Fortunately, it did not.

From there, the time was a bit rough not so much dealing with isolation and living alone in a small, darkened apartment, but other things revolving around mental health. I received some sad news over distant friends, family affected by the pandemic, and felt helpless. I also felt a bit down, pondering my future post-quarantine and post-vaccination life eventually. Where will I be? What will I be doing? How much time must I give to dead-end positions of employment where I continue to be underutilized and my greater talents ignored? So much of my spare time at peak energy and brain is spent working with dead-end tasks that do nothing for career growth, yet pay bills and keeps me moving.

With that, I do have some answers and gave heavy thought to some new ideas. Some of that will take more thinking and more planning, but I look forward to making good on them. That includes, finding fresh energy when I am lacking it the most.

Still, there remains a struggle of wills. A fight to keep going. Some of it is from age, and some of it is from depression. I do what I can do, to get through this long, cold winter.

But, also… I remembered that I had shot many video segments from my walk in the snow last month. I wanted to do a little test, to see how I could do on camera as a host, and a videographer. During the quarantine, I had enough time to get through the footage, weed out the most cringiest parts, do a lot of editing. I also refreshed my skills on motion graphics, animated logos, some other stuff.

This is the result:

Watch as much as you can. If you make it through and enjoyed, please hit a “Like” and “Subscribe” on the YouTube. That will certainly help excite things and ideas for the coming spring season, which begins for me after my quarantine session.

Orion T

Senseless in Seattle, with the usual strangeness of its late winter weather

There’s a saying I’ve heard in this Emerald City of the Pacific Northwest…

If you like the weather, wait five minutes. Or, If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.

But, that’s not an exclusive saying to the city of Seattle. It’s said of many cities where shifting, unpredictable weather happens. The earliest version of that saying was quoted by famed writer Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. His exact quote was said to be, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.” The context and where he quoted this remains unknown to the Internet. But who cares, it’s timeless to our hours of environmental unpredictability, where it can be the only notable occurance of an otherwise mundane day.

Still, there is something timeless about the joy of unpredictable weather. Constant weather patterns can be boring. TV morning news would be less exciting without our weather reports. Less banter, less small talk for sure. For me, I enjoy the opportunities of photography and inspiration that sudden weather changes bring..

Especially in Seattle.

Orion T

Pictures above are from the newish patio deck area of the upper, main floor of the Pike Place Market. It’s a good place to chill, with less people and more space than other parts of this popular tourist destination.

Through the night of the great Seattle Snowpocalypse of 2021

Continued from my previous post, but before those pics were taken, are more (below) from another long walk.

This walk happened late night last Friday close to midnight with a couple friends, as the snow fell heavy upon the Seattle city. The streets were peaceful, quiet, and relaxing for my boots to stroll about. Locations were mostly the Downtown area around the Pike Place Market, the waterfront, and Space Needle.

Here are the pics of my long, roughly two-hour night experience…

Is that all for now?

Orion T

Through the day of the great Seattle Snowpocalypse of 2021

Over the recent last Saturday of this Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend, 8.9 inches of snow descended upon the Seattle area. This was the most local snow reported in a day over the last 52 years. It’s a lot, though pales in comparison to snow reports further to the East of the U.S.

Yet, I loved this downpour of constant snowflakes rested upon my home concrete jungle. Everywhere, new tints of natures monochrome, and the eerie quiet of city further closed, along with the ongoing pandemic. I took a many steps throughout, for mostly errands and whatever excuses I mustered for the sake of long, joyous walks through this wonderous winterland of strange unfamiliar proportions of snow. I wore a good pair of tough boots this time, well-prepared to not slip and drench my precious feet. I stomped through the downtown area, to the waterfront, until the International District, then back to downtown, eventually to the Capitol Hill district, and then back to the waterfront through downtown again. The long trek was all great exercise, with the minimal eating of a cupcake and a bread bowl full of Ivar’s clam chowder.

I also snapped some pictures with my fancy phone (A OnePlus 8T Pro). Here are some of those pictures, all wide and unfiltered:

And there’s more, of which I will share soon. Take care in the meantime, and check your weather reports before heading out, especially if you live in or around Seattle. Weather is otherwise quite unpredictable around here.

Orion T

21 things to the great 21s of today!

So today is the the 21th day of the 21th year of the 21th century. I am posting this on the 21st hour of my day!

So, I will share with you 21 things I enjoyed about being 21 years of age, back when I was 21.

  1. Drinking responsibly, and legally…totally new at 21!
  2. Community college…totally ready and willing to go back to school, but on my terms at 21!!
  3. Having roommates that weren’t my friends, didn’t usually feel weird.
  4. At 21, I can begin to officially quote, “Back in my day…”
  5. “So, this is clubbing…heh.”
  6. Whipping out my state ID with a smile, proving that I am 21.
  7. No weird life regrets just yet.
  8. Not caring about the sodium count in 10-cent ramen packs and 50-cent noodle cups!
  9. Totally a full grown-up with no age restrictions, unless I want to run for President.
  10. But still can be kind of a kid with my Spawn action figures together on a shelf. No explanations!
  11. No big student loan or credit card debts. Probably not ever, riiiiiight?!
  12. Working five days a week at a reasonable living wage for the time, hell yeah!
  13. My peak high metabolism.
  14. Taco Bell food tasted really good then.
  15. Decided officially that gambling was stupid, and I sucked at it.
  16. Sleep was way more manageable.
  17. Hanging out with friends when I can because I can, and they could too. it was just so simple and exciting back then!
  18. Following your dreams instead of chasing after them.
  19. Having an innocent, naïve world view that was more acceptable
  20. The amazing and totally responsible 20s life, 8-9 more of this year to redo…riiiiight?!
  21. Being very overly optimistic. (Now, I am cautiously optimistic).

So yeah, that’s my awesome 21 things I loved about being 21 on this day of multiple 21s. Also, enjoy this catchy opening to one my favorite classic TV shows, 21 Jump Street now…

This is probably going to stay in your head now (you’re welcome!)

Orion T

Oh…you might ask why is there a squirrel as my opening pic. That’s because today, January 21st is also Squirrel Appreciation Day! NOD YOUR HEADS TO OUR FURRY OVERLORDS OF CUTENESS!!!

Also, I carefully planted 21s, 21 times in this article of 21s!

Spinning light in the deep night…

Here in Rain City, where the trees are wet and my shoes are damp.

The streets turn quiet as the night sets in further. The pitter patter of today’s lasting shower remains. You can hear the drips, falling from above, bouncing off windows, off branches, on our faces. It’s all very pleasant, though my glasses can take only so much in droplets, before I must stop and rewipe.

My time is late, after some mundane yet necessary errands just done. I look to the familiar streetlights to light my way towards home after a short, yet sluggish bus ride from Capitol Hill to the Denny Triangle. Aside, are light reflections off concrete, sometimes hiding sneaky deviously deep puddles. I carry on and eventually reach the front door of my apartment, fiddling for my keys in my drenched backpack. I hear metal jingling, as I rummage though the deepest, cluttered area.

But then I stop for a moment. I look up and notice the glistening naked winter branches, staring back at me. A nearby streetlight is perfectly centered to my line of vision, where it and I should be, to make this connection that is our moment. That is, until my glasses can take no more droplets, and I must stop and rewipe.

I take a picture from the phone in my pocket. it captures the moment perfectly, which you now see above. And then, I dig my keys out. I go inside, and that’s end of my lovely time outside in the rain, for now.

– Orion T

My first cupcake of 2021!!

YUM!!!

It’s a New Years edition edition from the local Cupcake Royale consisting of chocolate cake, strawberry champagne, frosting, sprinkles, and a truffle. It’s a beautiful thing that tastes amazing.

This cupcake is only available from Cupcake Royale from until the end of today, then on to other special editions. One a side note, everyone in Seattle should visit Cupcake Royale when around the world famous Pike Place Market area. It’s small, but filled with much awesome flavor with a curated range of scrumptious cupcakes and ice creams. My personal favorite is their salted caramel cupcake, a must for all seeking to partake in the best sweets of the Emerald City.

– Orion T

Hello and cheers for the 2021 new year!!

This year of 2021 is off to a nice nice start!. Happy New Year!!

It’s the second day now, with solid showers from the sky to the grounds of the great city of Seattle. I got my Nike Air Max’s soaking drenched, underestimating one puddle after the next. Still, I moved on, enjoying every moment this year had to give me so far. Yesterday, was a bit more dry.

I started the new year as the countdown clock hit zero. I was a party, alone in my apartment but a gaggle of friends online cheering on the most surreal virtual “fireworks” imposed over our famous Space Needle. What a weird yet wonderful 10 minutes, developed by Terry Morgan, owner of Seattle-based Modern Enterprises and founder of BOREALIS – A Festival of Light, in partnership with co-producers Maxin10sity.

Here’s that…

This process used a digital sky-mapping technique. I think this involves using multiple layers crossed with 3-D stuff combined with video of the Space Needle. It’s all very visual impressive, but also a bit cheesy. I and online friends watching it online, enjoyed it. I think with drone technology, lasers, hologram tech, this might be a real thing in about 20 years, for many more to enjoy without the virtual part.

Then after much silly chatting, I fell asleep and woke up for later on this first day of 2021. Then, many phone calls with close loved ones, checking on friends, tidying up my apartment.

Then back to day with lots of walking around, yet avoiding people because the pandemic is still out there. I have to go back out tomorrow, and then the next day, and so on for many more because I have to.

But so far, all is well around my wet feet. Cheers, and hope you all are also doing well and looking forward.

Orion T

Goodbye Forever 2020!!

Yes, finally done with this long and strange, and also often saddening year.

But, I learned a lot through this time dealing with a pandemic, a huge turning point in social unrest, and appreciating a lot that I should have really done more before this year. And also, a lot of fun things shared with friends (mostly online). Here is a mix of mostly all the favorite things I enjoyed in 2020..

  • Favorite full movie released in 2020 – Soul
  • Favorite TV show through 2020 – 60 Minutes
  • Favorite new streaming TV series released in 2020 – Queen’s Gambit
  • Favorite continued streaming TV series in 2020 – The Mandalorian
  • Favorite podcast through 2020 – Junk Food Dinner
  • Favorite short audio stories and narratives – NPR’s This American Life
  • Favorite Youtube channel of 2020 – KanaChanTV
  • Favorite printed book of 2020 – Invisible Men, the Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books by Ken Quatro
  • Favorite graphic novel of 2020 – Under Earth by Chris Gooch
  • Favorite comic series of 2020 – Excellence by Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph
  • Favorite new video game of 2020 – Hades (developed and published by Supergiant Games)
  • Favorite older and most played game of 2020 – Final Fantasy XV
  • Favorite “wrestling” match of 2020 – Boneyard Match, Undertaker and AJ Styles – WrestleMania
  • Favorite wrestling match of 2020 – Sasha Banks vs. Bayley – WWE Hell in a Cell 2020
  • Favorite sports team of 2020 – Seattle Seahawks
  • Favorite junk food of 2020 – Pizza Mart (local Seattle chain and bar) slices
  • Favorite dessert of 2020 – salted Caramel Cluster SO Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Ice Cream
  • Favorite food habit – vegan meat alternatives for mostly red meat dishes
  • Favorite Hike of 2020 – Mount Rainer, Sunrise Point
  • Favorite playlist trend – relaxing chill beats compilations and mixes
  • Favorite collectible thing I bought – The Ultimate Gremlin Flasher figure from NECA Toys (pictured above)
  • Favorite thing I did a lot on my own but will share later – writing, lots of writing!

I have much more to to say and share for the coming year. But now, I must join friends online for the final hours of 2020. Stay safe and look forward to 2021!!

Orion T

The Silent Seasonal Lights of Seattle 2020

Rain has fallen heavy tonight upon the Emerald City as the global pandemic courses through. The streets have are almost empty as the night sky takes over and most shopping and restaurant spots normally open, are now closed. There is peace, in between much of our troubled days.

The holiday lights for this time will not dim, as they brighten up this dark year with Christmas-time cheer. Traditions continue, helping those still out or perhaps needing a nice walk (but still stay safe, please), that not all is lost for 2020. Beautiful, colorful, LEDS everywhere!!!

But it’s also cold and wet now. I would not advise going out around here now, unless you really have to or maybe living a lonely life in a dark, small downtown apartment during a pandemic is clawing at your mental health. Then, a good walk through pretty lights can be pleasant, even in Seattle’s coldest, wettest hours.

Here are some of my choice phonecam captures of the Pike Place Market and Westlake area, taken recently. Live vicariously through them, hopefully in a safe and seasonal cheered environment…

– Orion T

Back to the Kubota Japanese Garden

2020 isn’t over yet as we we have one last month, and a stressful for many holiday season to go.

Meanwhile, I have the perfect place to wind down for those in the Seattle area, to decompress outside and away, socially distant and pandemic-mindful. That is the Kubota Garden park in the Rainer Beach area.

The Kubota Garden is one of the few curated Japanese gardens, with much greenery and sights reminiscent of the timeless natural scenic beauty of Japan. It’s free to enter, but with current pandemic restrictions (no big gatherings!).

I’ve written more about this place before, of which you can read here.

But for now, here are some pictures I took from a recent visit. For location and more information, click here.

– Orion T

Some Thanksgivings for 2020

Hello one and all, and Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a quiet day for me, as I often spend this over recent years in solitude and escape. Thanksgiving is a day of more self-reflection for me, with my family very distant (but have long morning phone calls) and reserve time with friends for late nights and the following weekend.

Now we have a pandemic, and we should be playing it safe and unless others are close, with heavy pre-quarantining to a gathering is 5 or less. and still sanitizing and taking extra measures. If not, avoid and sit this day out and be safe.

But many of us still have our thanks to share. In a larger scope, I’m thankful for essential workers, medical care workers, public service workers, volunteers, those working hard to keep others safe or maintain basic necessities for those in need, so that there will be a life waiting beyond this Covid-19 public health crisis. Such struggles are difficult, with many tragic stories (some very personal to me, and my reason for not writing lately). I hope there will be a wider appreciation and respect for those who dealt with this pandemic up front, and never forget those who also died and suffered as a result.

I also want to share thanks to those who have follow trough on the small inconveniences of social distancing, hand-sanitizing, mask-wearing, and matching the basic common sense spelled out by science and safety guidelines. The effects of Covid-19 are much more than death stats and the misconception that it’s like the flu or whatever. Those who took on the full effects will tell you, it’s horrifying and you need to stay the hell away from this.

I feel fortunate to remain uninfected and financially secure. My mental health has its ups and downs. This month morphed me into a turtle-like creature stasis, shelling myself from social media and the extreme polarizations brought along memes and political finger-wagging. I poke my head out for friends who knock on my shell, and we share in some quiet, very fun low-key treasures and cheerful spirits. We express support, of which these special friends and close relatives I am very thankful for. I would be in worse shape if not for all that.

So, Happy Thanksgiving! Remain safe and look after you and close ones mental health for the days forward. Be thankful, because with all the restrictions and precautions taken, we can still go with the basics of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, and still intact for 2020.

– Orion T

The above picture is taken from the Kubota Garden, a lovely little place I recently visited and wrote about a few years ago. I have new pictures of this wonderful place for another day. But for now, I just feel like the little bird, alone and making the most of its surroundings.

Speaking of little birds…

Present Tense in the USA

VOTE if have not yet done so!!

I won’t push the obvious stakes much further. There is nothing I can not stress more that would change anyone’s mind at this point. I have to trust in an imperfect system based on the sensible ideals of democracy, with faith that a large portion of the voting population will put forth what needs to happen for this country to sanely continue.

From what I hear, more people are voting. Records are being broken from early voting. It’s trending, to declare your vote and share without shame, that there is something in this great American system that works. But, only if enough people participate.

Yet, let’s take a deep breath. Don’t let the anxiety overwhelm you after you did your part. Maybe stay off social media for a bit. Work helps distract, but avoid political conversation (a good practice in general at most jobs). Maybe find a dumb movie, play a video game, get some rigorous exercises done, or whatever…then turn on some news and see the results later on. Then, well let’s see and go from there.

Yet, still..

Orion T

I voted early, as Washington state has an awesome vote by mail system.

Happy Halloween 2020, in isolation but still loving it

So, I’m all alone with my little monster buddies on the shelf for this Halloween 2020, mostly because of the anxiety and fears of social gathering lately. There is a full Moon outside, but too cold and spooky outside for a good, long gaze. I am probably missing out on some cool decorations too.

Yet, I’m still in the spirit. I just watched an old favorite movie a bit earlier, starring Vincent Price and Diana Rigg, Theater of Blood. Vincent Price plays a bitter Shakespearean actor, not taking kindly to his disrespectful critics. He surprises each with a creative trap, that involves the best (and worst) of his Shakespeare plays. Lots of fun, and very over the top. You can watch a decent copy of the full movie on Youtube…

I hope you are all having a safe and Happy Halloween. I hope next year, with the pandemic being a lesser concern, that we can make up for the lost socialness this fun day brings. Maybe enjoy some more more movies and a moonlit walk together.

Orion T

A problem of all sorts of different angles…

“We think that we can fix our lives by taking some simple step, but it’s not like that. Most problems need lots of sticking plasters. They need coaxing and massaging and looking at from all sorts of different angles.”

― writer Alexander McCall Smith, The Quiet Side of Passion

The picture is saved from way back at the beginning of 2020, during my visit to Swami’s Beach in Encinitas (North San Diego County) California. I stumbled upon this pic an hour ago, and felt it should be shared, though I had little context. I know little else about this stairway, just that it’s unsafe and off-limits to visitors at the time. It still deserves a nice metaphorical quote, at least.


Foggy Seattle Weather Predictions

The good news is that Seattle is back to normal…with the weather.

Unpredictable, beautiful in own way through every condition. The other day it was sunny, but with low level fog giving moments of surreal blue haze. The next day, a spooky fog through the day, hiding the Space Needle from viewers afar. Then the next day, we got some needed rain.

The forecast today will be partly cloudy, partly sunny, higher humidity, maybe rain. We will see. For those living local and around, enjoy the moment when the Seattle weather can just be itself.

– Orion T