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

Freedom to be yourself…

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“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The pic above is a moment here at Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada.

– Orion T

 

The great Post Alley Art Wall

Post Alley Art Wall

Between two giant tourist attractions in Seattle, being the Gum Wall and the Pike Place Market is my favorite thing in the area for all visitors to check out…the art on the wall of Post Alley.

You’ll find this in the side of a downwards driveway below the big sign to the left, towards the Gum Wall from the west end of Pike Street. It’s hard to miss, unless really tired. But, I love it any time as it is always changing. It’s full of social messages, with some politics. Also full of adverts, shameless self-promotion, heads up on local events, and some puzzling stuff.

That’s all for today. I think the imagery has at least a thousand more words that speak to the reader than I can put forth for now. Just click on to enlarge and explore!

– Orion T

The new city perspective, from higher Seattle…

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The above shot is from the Madison and 4th Building in downtown Seattle, where I currently work these days. It’s from yesterday, being the last sunny day of summer, but with wind and cold outside ushering in the new Fall Season.

In the distance are two of Seattle’s tallest buildings. To the right, being the 76-floor Columbia Tower, a familiar tower to those who lived here over the last few decades. On the left to the middle is the more recent 44-floor F5 Tower, completed in 2017. Some cool facts: its glass walls are designed to handle temperature and energy use by letting in some sun rays and reflecting others. It uses the same glass as the One World Trade Center in New York City. It also holds rainwater for reuse, has a 35-foot-tall”living wall” where plants grow and have solar energy equipment upon its roof.

On the ground, the F5 is a visually puzzling, odd building among the other skyscrapers. Not exactly straight, and appearing too modern I think. From the ground, its pattern feels a bit off…

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But rising up high in another building and seeing a different angle of the F5, there is a barely seen symmetry to it, that is brilliant and awesome (see top picture).

Maybe someday, I will go inside and see more for myself. Hopefully, up high and getting the chance to look around, and gain new perspectives.

– Orion T

 

 

Breaking down the days behind

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Here, I observe the destructiveness of change, swift and ruthless to some things our new civilization stopped caring about.

I see the dust from a crushing of metal and wood once assembled with care and love. Now, this structure once proud, crushed by monsters with mighty jaws that mash and crunch.

For many months, I walked by this empty building on Olive and Boren, next to the Convention Place Tunnel Station in downtown Seattle. It was a corner spot, two or three stories tall, with blue triming and giant painted birds upon one side. Both side, dirty glass barely reflecting the growing world outside. I know nothing of its history, but I would guess the inside space for a vehicle showtoom, or dance studio. Stuck to another side, a dreaded Notice of Proposed Land Use sign, its mark of doom. The building remained unhabited on the inside, but still a some life on the outside…

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Coming home last week, I walked down the Pine street from Capitol Hill. I could see the clearing out and tearing bits off the Convention Center Tunnel Station. No more waiting in the centered area, as my gateway to buses to the Bellevue, Kent, Lake City area have now scattered to other nearby stops. This is no longer the final stop after the long tunnel rides underneath the good stretch of old Seattle metropolis. I accepted this, as truth that change is constant and not always convenient.

But there, that little building on the corner of the once proud station center suddenly torn down is a sudden shock now. That was an unknown part to my world, a familiar marker to my daily trek, seen often from high and coming down Boren street from Pine.

Now, the building is now mashed and crunched. The monster I watched was vicious, yet precise on which parts to break first. The building is barely recognizable, and I almost looked away.

But, I should not. There is that reminder on the swiftness off a changing city, where the buildings of old are suddenly gone, with no respect towards what they brought to the past. The familiarity they brought to people’s live, are no more. And what comes next, will probably end up less exciting, as I find the new Seattle structures often boring and forgettable.

Meanwhile, cherish other mundane things that can be part of your daily life, for change may come quick, mashed and crunched.

Fallen Blossoms in the Early Spring

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The Seattle weather has been very fickle lately. The sunshine remains infrequent and the rain a familiar thing that happens 2-3 days a week. Below, are the cherry trees of early spring, reaching the peak of bloom throughout the Emerald City for this year.

Locally, more blossoms have fallen into scatters. The recent rains dampened many, keeping them moist until the groundskeepers collect. Until then, here are some shots last Sunday morning through a local stroll in Seattle’s Freeway Park…

Orion T

Outside the Amazon Spheres

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Live in Seattle, and you will eventually notice the overwhelming presence of Amazon. I mean this, because of the influence the mega-dominating capitalist empire carries, with its growing tech culture and innovation, here at a high price for the locals here.

Now stands the Amazon Spheres, an enclosed botanical paradise for some of its highest privileged employees. A forest world of its own, with a large variety of plants, waterfalls, and trees; all contained within an architectural wonder of curved glass and complicated steelwork.

This bonkers modern construction is the newest developed centerpiece for the many surrounding Amazon buildings towering over the city (and much blocking the view of the Space Needle for us regular folk). Its light after sunset illuminates Amazon’s current prosperity to its many local highly paid tech-workers, as they gather their food at the nearby Amazon Go shop, or the Whole Foods Market a few blocks away (now owned by Amazon).

The building is cool to look at, but I think would be more impressive if it stood for more than its company name. I have more to say on this, especially after visiting the inside of one of those spheres.

More on that, soon.

– Orion T

 

Picture of Today 9/21/2017, Goodbye Summer

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Today is the last day of Summer 2017 for the Northern Hemisphere. I hope you took some great looks at the grown green, especially if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, for it’s all coming down soon. Along with it, the warm weather and brighter days.

Yet, I think there will be as much to appreciate in the coming Fall. Wait and see…

Picture of Today 9/10/2017, Admiring Distance…

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Here is a good day in the wind, where I sway low and look away. I admire the beauty of the distance I see, where time is slowed and clarity is gained. I wish I had more of this in the current days. With longer time and attention given to the distance, I could write more.

Orion T

Pictures of Today 8/27/2017, Flea Market Exploration

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This morning, I awoke to good feelings and a need to go outside and enjoy some good warm weather (with sympathies to those in Texas, who are dealing with a terrible hurricane and storm right now). And so I did, to the Capitol Hill area of Seattle for a morning walk.

There, a pleasant little flea market, known as the Cal Anderson Park Garage Sale. I saw many local looking people with tables, with their own stuff sprawled out for sale. I gazed over the nice variety of all one could ask for at a garage sale/flea market/swap meet or whatever you want to call it. For me, it was a glorious treasure hunt, with $40 dollars in my pocket to spend.

Such fun, and probably the best outside flea market I have been to in a long time. One reason being, the sellers were friendly and represented the best of the local Cap Hill eccentric vibe, leading to a lot of fun and special items being sold. Another reason is nearly everything being super cheap, and reflected more of the garage sale mentality promoted in its title.

See my phone pics below for more of my joys in flea market diving, with the last being a sampling of my treasures (I spent $34).

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Late Night Fuzzyness

A personal favorite shot above, showing my mood hours later after first arriving in San Diego two weeks ago.

The location, the end branch of the long Municipal Pier in Ocean Beach. It's a lovely place, no matter the picture. Just enjoy it, in any mood.

Orion T

More shots to come, later and clearer.

Picture of Today 7/2/2017, Breezy Sunday

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Just a lazy Sunday for this time, where nothing matters but the wildflowers in the breeze. The time is around 5:30 pm.

Such is a peaceful moment, after waking up from a long nap on a random chair in Olympic Park, Seattle. The weekend has been kind, with the summer weather I wanted, and time away from the troubles of the world. The cruise ship in the distance is large, with at least six or seven stories above deck. I watch it move slowly across the sparkly waters of Elliot Bay. Such a life I imagine for those many on board; to worry not on things, for the moment.

Orion T

The picture was taken from my outdated smartphone. However, It does well for closeups. See…

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Picture of Today 6/8/2017, the End of Day

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Here comes the night, a little earlier than usual.

– Orion T

The picture was taken from my phone, in the International District of Seattle. The weather is a little cold for June day, and breezy; a fitting end for a day mixed with rain and sunshine.

A Fallen Bloom

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Above is a time last week, between the sunshine and gloom. The morning brought some Spring rain, gentle and calming for an otherwise busy week.

I passed a tree with fresh pink blooms, a casual wonder to behold. Upon the ground, were freshly fallen blooms still wet from their recent shower….

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The location is within Freeway Park in downtown Seattle, by the Cultural Landscape Fountain. You may find me there on the weekdays, walking through on the morning or evening. Sometimes there, I sit down on a nearby bench and ruminate.

Orion T

Picture of Yesterday 5/20/2017, Bees Together

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The above shot is from a moment past noon at the 5th Annual West Seattle Bee Festival, yesterday at the High Point Commons Park.

From behind the glass, I and others watched a beekeeper in action, demonstrating the inner workings of the man-made Langstroth hive box. Here, bees are inside and produce honey inside the hive frames, which are eventually raised and managed (from what I understood, please comment if I am wrong or leaving something important out).

Such activity was fun to watch and interesting the countless little worker bees in the process.   Here are some fun facts obtained from the Utah County Beekeepers Association:

  • Honeybees are the only insect that produces food for humans.
  • To make one pound of honey, the bees in the colony must visit 2 million flowers, fly over 55,000 miles and will be the lifetime work of approximately 768 bees.
  • A single honeybee will only produce approximately 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
  • Bees communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones (scents).
  • Honeybees never sleep!

For more bee facts, visit www.utahcountybeekeepers.org.

– Orion T

 

Pictures of Today 5/16/17, Scattered Showers

The quick walk to work this morning had to slow down…

So, I can take a moment to appreciate the quickened beauty of the developed Spring, where after the heavy rains have produced the greenest of results.I often go through the Jim Ellis Freeway Park in Downtown Seattle. Seemingly recently, I am astounded by the sprout of extra fullness and vibrant greens of the surrounding trees, the epic height of this Pacific Northwest wet Spring.

Of which, I have yet to take pictures. Soon, I will snap and share the green views for another posting.

But for the earlier today, I focus more on two lone trees by the often used walkway, not as green but more white in distant sight. I am unsure of their kind. I think these are Sakura trees, but different from the larger prominent Sakura Tree clusters bloomed and shed in the early spring.

Here is one young tree, just after the recent rain of yesterday’s end….

and here is the nearby other…

I enjoyed the sight of both trees while nearly late to the next hour, letting the moment of this in-between display stay still, which shall come to pass very soon. Just one more look for then, and I leave for the day…

– Orion T

Picture of Today 4/25/2017, After the Rains…

 

Did you know, that Seattle gets a lot of rain? Sometimes, more than normal.

In fact now, Seattle has soaked up 44.67 inches of rain since October 1. Since 1895, this period has been the wettest on record, according to the National Weather Service’s Seattle Twitter.

So this results with more Fall in the Spring. Signs of this weather are everywhere, especially on the way to my daily life in the morning; when the streets are still wet and not know exactly when the rain happened. Just, that is was recent, for a while.

This Spring does have a special feel from the ever-recent showers. I think it’s in the fresh blossoms, that gave up on sunny days. Many of them rest upon the grounds now, soaked.

– Orion T

Others are still up, waiting their turn.

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A Day of Scattered Blossoms.

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The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short.

– Homaro Cantu, famous American chef and inventor.

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Pictures taken at Freeway Park, behind the Convention Center in Downtown Seattle. The scattered blossoms were from the previous days of heavy wind and rainfall.

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

 

Pictures of Yesterday 3/25/2017, Looking Out the Window…

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Yesterday, I worked some extra hours.

Among the free coffee and snacks, I now appreciate that our workplace has many windows. Such that I may enjoy the beautiful day, of which I am otherwise missing out on a good long walk. Still, there was much to appreciate in the small area occasionally gazed upon. The morning rains stop, then a lengthy blast of the sunshine (and then, more rain just as I finished work…sigh).

Here below, are some window captures from the uppest floor; a nice opportunity to open a few windows and stick my camera outside, being that most of the staff was out and out of the way.

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– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Picture of Today 2/27/2017, Late Winter Jams..


The winter is still maddening for the Pacific Northwest, especially here in Seattle.

There was some rain, snow, and lightning. There was no order to any of it, just a jumble of madness. Some areas were moreso on the weathering than others. Meanwhile, the main roads contained a lasting standstill of heavy vehicle traffic jams throughout the day. The air felt chilled, unwarning of the sudden hail. The evening slush was plentiful throughout the Downtown area, with leftover snow scattered about. Now the near future weather is up in the air, with no promises of any tranquility. Carry a good umbrella and warm coat. 

– Orion T

A Snowy Morning in Kobe Terrace Park

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Seattle morning just last Monday, I awoke to witness the beautiful snow blanketing the city. I walked towards work, with a detour to one particular small park upon a hill, where the overnight snowfall revealed a new world.

That park is Kobe Terrace (in Seattle’s International District), a small enclosed area with a community garden upon a hill, all overlooking to the southwest distance of Seattle. Anytime is a good time to visit throughout the year. Though some particular times are better than others.

This time was short and quite wonderful, being a winter wonderland surrounded by cherry trees, small garden pots, and Japanese style deco wooden structures. Even with the noisy freeway nearby, one can feel the serenity brought in by the fresh overnight snow (about one inch, I was told). I could easily imagine traveling through the country town of Hokkaido, Japan; for at least the 30 minutes to myself, before arriving at nearby work thereafter.

Snow in this area is rare, as the Seattle central area is low and distant from the mountain regions. Such occurs once or twice a year, if lucky. For this time, the snow continued to fall until the noontime. Shortly after, the rain washed much of away, leaving a different beautiful setting (of which I will share in my next post).

These pictures below and the memory with them, are very worthwhile to share for this wonderful little moment away…

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– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.