Up and about Portland in wintertime

Within the wet winters of the Pacific Northwest, can be the best fresh air and beautiful blue skies. Gazing high, I see freshness and the gentle passing of new time, bringing light and hope to a world that can feel pretty dark sometimes.

Below, I enjoy the often quiet breaks after the bursts of wet, gloomy, rough weather. That goes double for me when out of my big city, and into a neighboring city. Because then, I find more of what I miss.

Recently, I was Portland (Oregon), enjoying some beautiful hours from the weekend. In the morning after a heavy night of heavy showers, I enjoy its calm feel under the bare trees, vintage architecture, setting upon its often quirky gluten-free option heavy atmosphere.

The streets seemed almost empty last Saturday morning, with fewer humans walking about. I stopped by one of the many food truck blocks, seeing them all mostly closed until after the noontime hits.

And you can walk around easy, aimlessly enjoy the open streets, hum a little song, because “Keep Portland Weird” is a community push. I had my usual destinations before my business to do here. I don’t come often, but I never forget my sense of direction through the the central downtown. I know all the main spots I love, especially the Courthouse Square, Cameron’s Books, Ground Kontrol Arcade, Voodoo Donuts, Multnomah County Central Library, a bunch of favorite quirky stores and restaurants through all over the city, and some great parks to let that fresh outside air sink through to the heart.

And, I can never forget Powell’s Books, a place I end up often spending an excessive amount of time indoors. It’s also here, where I easily forget how pleasant the outside is.

I will have to talk more about Powell’s Books, in a feature to its own someday. But for now, here is a picture that best represents me in the Portland moment.

– Orion T

Looking up in a day of work..

Look above your head, when walking through a busy metropolis… You might spot a friendly neighborhood window-washing super-person.

To observe a daredevil in action doing mundane work, brings a little thrill to my day. I feel reminded, of extra joys in life that should be gained through some aspects of employment. It’s better to get something more back than money, for your devoted time. Such somethings can be fun conversations, gain knowledge, expand creativity, new friends, tend to a hobby that is part of the job, help others, be an inspiration, be a part of something better, or just be at peace.

This thrill above, is an inspiration for the days ahead. Not so much, to be a window-washer; but to desire something more for my work-time.

– Orion T

The picture, was recently one morning at the Seattle Central Library, an amazing building worth keeping clean.

Upon high, a little creature sticks to the sky…

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That winged little creature is an estimated 900 feet in the air, upon a window of the Columbia Tower, where you may find me working these days.

I am not certain what kind of bug resting on the outside of the window. It’s much bigger than a housefly and very still. I wonder how it found the strength to fly so high, then remain still for the near hour I spent on the inside, taking a moment to stare at it. Then, I would go back to other distractions.

– Orion T

Adding joy to a gloomy day…

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Bubbles work.

Though, I think it’s more of a visual cue of the senses to enjoy the magic of trapped air in compressed water molecules amplified by soap particles that decrease the surface tension of its expanded exterior. A quick Internet engine search gave information links to vague notions of bubble therapy, leading to some ideas that positive vibes can be raised from its process. Bubbles are a special kind of magic, that science explains but doesn’t really bring to mind any complex process for the joy one finds in their strange, gravity-resistant behavior.

There seen, is some appreciation of seeing life in shorts spurts of existence, momentary freedom. Observe the span of such beautiful fragile life, as its memory will echo further into the mind’s gallery of abstract concepts, in wait to be revived again.

– Orion T

The picture above is from a few weeks ago at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, of which I took. The bubbles came from a large wand dipped in a small bucket, waved by a cool and free-spirited heavily-tattooed young man. 

Tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct

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The former State Route 99 freeway through Seattle, also known by the waterfront as the Alaskan Way Viaduct is finally coming down. Originally, its construction began in 1949, completed its first version in 1953, then carried on until earlier this year.  In its final full year, the Alaskan Way Viaduct could carry up to 91,000 vehicles per day. But sadly, the viaduct could no longer sustain as it was considered unsafe, and prone to a heavy earthquake. So, away it must go.

In place, will be a lengthy waterfront park area, and I think some new driving lanes. The site will be an overall facelift for this changing metropolis.

– Orion T

 

Blossoms in the wind

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“And so the spring buds burst, and so I gaze,
And so the blossoms fall, and so my days …”

– Uejima Onitsura, Japanese haiku poet of the Edo period, 1660-1738)

The above picture was during a recent rush to work in downtown Seattle. This flurry of loosened cherry blossoms, as I admired the surreality. They would almost fall to the ground, then scatter down the street in random directions, never to be seen again.

– Orion T

 

The Peace of Fewer Pieces…

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Today was a wonderful Sunday, at least for many of us in Seattle. I would wake up late, to go outside and enjoy the sunshine as the peaceful start of this week will not wait up. Such was a joy best-taken advantage on this wonderful Sunday, to not waste it away in my apartment shell.

So, I decided to spend some alone time at the famous Pike Place Market, to ruminate and do some writing from the new back patio area. I would stare at the blue sky-reflected Elliot Bay waters while feeling the gentle late winter breeze mixed with warm sunlight. But, there was something else that added to the calming moment…and that was the former State Road Highway 99, Alaskan Way Viaduct between the Pike Place Market and Seattle waterfront area.

Such was a roadway icon of the city for over half a century, recently shut down permanently for safety reasons. I lived in the city for over six continuous years. I would see the road busy with traffic as I hear the familiar thumps of the vehicles constantly passing over highly stacked concrete. Now, there was a stretch of stillness, and an oddly satisfying sight of the empty shell of the old SR 99, now awaiting its fate of deconstruction, piece by piece.

Such will continue for the months ahead, until its gone. And with it, those old noises of yesterday fading out. I will wake up again on a distant Sunday, to come back, to gaze out to a different site…not likely as empty or peaceful as now.

– Orion T