Here’s a moment after a lengthy hike in Canada, coming back to central Vancouver, looking to the sky on a short ferry ride.
The time was near the end of last year and has been on my phone for a bit. I apologize for not sharing sooner, as time moves faster with more else is happening in 2023. But looking back on my phone to delete pictures, I narrow what I should have been sharing here on my sadly neglected blog of lately.
And then, I see this moment. What a site, coming back from North Vancouver to the Central Area to have dinner with an old friend. The sun is setting and the air is cold. I look to my destination, to the sky in awe. There is a perfect split in wait, the day letting the night cover itself like a blanket. The sun would peek in and out, very playful in this golden hour.
This is just another amazing moment to be shared, as it’s never too late to enjoy a saved beautiful moment.
The new spring season has finally arrived, and its new atmosphere feels absolutely great.
Slightly warmer weather, a time change giving more light to our evenings, more outside sports actions, and very notably come the fresh blooms.
My favorite visuals of this new season are the many cherry trees adorn with their brightest blooms, of which I have wrote about many times, and did a little video last year.. Yet, I can never express enough the wonders and atmosphere these sakuras bring at such a perfect time. I am often drawn to them. My imagination is brought to visions where I will someday witness see their grandest display in the Land of the Rising Sun.
But for now, I shall continue to appreciate this annual natural tradition, well appreciated in the PNW where cherry blossoms are plenty. Cherry blossom festivals are coming, with a new one this weekend at the University of Washington. I may check that out.
But if you see a cherry tree or grove, stop and enjoy what’s freshly given in the narrow time seen. Look close, and appreciate every branch, every petal whether resilient or loosely falling. Then get lost in the overall picture…
I’m having fun again, with my old and slowly outdated DSLR camera.
Show me fresh shapes, crazy lights, tricky angles, strange surfaces. With the right camera, fun will will happen, as I shall go for some interesting shots.
Recently here in downtown Seattle, I took my old Canon T5 with a 24mm lens for an evening walk. The weather remained chilly, as some recent snow remained scattered through the streets. I originally looked around for some dramatic themes of cold winter weather, while also picking up some food to go. But upon checking for what remained open, I read on some “SLU After Dark” displays in the South Lake Union area. These were four light-up, interactive art installations. All of which were temporary on display until the end of 2021, and then likely moved elsewhere.
The display labeled Prismatica caught my eye the most, by RAW, a Canadian architecture firm. Prismatica is a series of prisms filled with color lights, where anyone near may give each a spin. It’s simple yet dazzling amusement with an incalculable amount of experiences in visual joy brought with variances of light, motion, position, and your reaction.
So, I took pictures with my camera. At first, very difficult to get a good angle many, while the snow also distracted in each shot. Yet, I was a surprised at some results of myself trying, but up close. Depending on what you looked through, what reflected, finding yourself in them, and different cam settings; some very interesting results. Here are some favorites through different glass layers using a combination of bouncing of colors, reflections, focus depths…
That was all good fun. I love to try this again soon, but with warmer weather.
The best way to appreciate the Fall season, is to appreciate what becomes of it.
Many people complain about the Pacific Northwest weather after the summer season. Not me, for I believe here shows a pleasant trade off to the warm weather and blue skies. A return to nature, a cycle of renewal, a time for periodic harvesting. To benefit, is to get through the minor inconveniences of darkened skies and wettened soles.
I see the refreshments of fresh Fall colors of earthly greens, oranges, yellows, browns, and much more variety between brought about by the plentiful trees and shrubbery. The season enhances, by spreading from the sky, unto the ground, mixing what was cleared, now a beautiful mess. A good rain and infrequent loosens the stems, brining leaves to the ground, and then see why the Autumn (aka as from a history of French borrowing from Latin) season became more commonly named, Fall. Because the leaves must Fall, for the seasonal cycle to make sense.
Meanwhile, here are some magnificent captures from a recent walk to Ravenna Park, a half-mile narrow ravine below two large bridges. This stretch is perfect for jogging, casual strolls, ruminating, and of appreciating the Fall season. You’ll find this park, located closely north of the University of Washington, in north Seattle.
These pictures are not all of Ravenna Park, that I intend to share. This park has much beauty, which I will features more of in future postings. In the meantime, go take a walk through your nearest park and appreciate what the Fall has given.
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.
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.
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…
The morns are meeker than they were, The nuts are getting brown; The berry’s cheek is plumper, The rose is out of town. The maple wears a gayer scarf, The field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.
– Emily Dickinson, Poems
The picture above is from the outside looking in through a nearby building at the Point Robinson Lighthouse at Maury Island. Sorry for slightly out of focus quality, but I hope you appreciate the content the camera still captures. See yesterday’s post for more on the outside.
A moment to admire from a month ago, among friends at the Maury Island Marine Park, part of Maury Island, part of Vashon Island (depending on one’s perspective), part of the greater Seattle area in Washington State.
Before me stands the Point Robinson Lighthouse, a small beacon of light for foggy and dank nighttime conditions since 1885 (automated since 1978). Bit its doors remain closed most of the time. Other times, you might be able to enter, maybe get a tour. More info at vashonparks.org.
I love lighthouses. I intend to visit more of these eventually, and share in experience.
Before that structure, you’ll notice much dead wood mixed in the wild grass, probably washed up on short, or left behind from a past operation. I do not really know. But such is a beautiful sight to see much so scattered, enjoying its long life, relaxed on the beach, with the company of playful feet at times.
The waters are quiet, with few boats. Along the shore, there are plenty of rocks mixed with slippery moss and hints of passing life. Walk further then the rocks, and you are either wet or among the trees and grass of this medium-sized local park. The choice is yours.
This place is peaceful, and I love the moment where I am part. You should come when given the chance, and love your moment too.
“People give the worst advice about lost things. Retrace your steps. Pray to Saint Anthony. Think about where you last saw it. But that doesn’t apply to the things that matter. Those are right in front of you, except they can’t be found by looking for them. Only by looking at everything else.”
“Walking through a deserted city in the hours before dawn is sobering way beyond the undoing of the effects of alcohol. Every thing is familiar, and everything is strange. It’s as if you are the only survivor of some mysterious calamity which has emptied the place of its population, and yet you know that behind the shuttered and curtained windows people lie sleeping in their tens of thousands, and all their joys and disasters lie sleeping too. It makes you think of your own life, usually suspended at that hour, and how you are passing through it as if in a dream. Reality seems very unreal.”
Did you know that frogs don’t drink water? They soak it through their skin.
Or know that a frog can shred a layer of skin about once a week? The old dead skin is not wasted. The frog usually eats it.
Did you know that most frogs have teeth? Frog teeth are located in the upper jaw, which are used to hold its prey before swallowing it whole. Prey depends on the size of the frog, from insects to pocket-sized animals.
There are over 5,000 species of frog. The study of frogs is called Herpetologists.
A group of frogs is called an army.
Ranidaphobia is the fear of frogs.
Some people also have frogs as pets!
Frogs are a huge part of pop culture for every generation. Frogs are very everywhere in books, games, movies; as princes, mascots, obscure B movies, lots of mythological references. I love Kermit the Frog, who I see as the best frog.
I would love to know what your favorite frog is, fictional or not!
Top picture is taken off the Shadow Lake (not to be confused with Shadow Lake in King county, WA) trail near Sunrise Point very high up at about 6400 feet in the Mount Rainer National Park, Washington State. I recently did some hiking there, and will share more on that soon.
The days are packed for me, yet the sidewalks still seem empty during this weird pandemic time.
I recently took to the streets of Ballard, a northern district Seattle with a quiet small town feel, lined with boats and docks to the west. It’s an area often missed by visitors with little tourist draw, yet plenty for those loving the deep Pacific Northwest charm of old shops, restaurants, decades old buildings, hints of history throughout, and some cheerful little oddities.
Recently, I finished some extra work in Ballard, which took about a week of back and forth commutes, filled with sorting and paperwork. After the last hours of that assignment, I looked to the sky with plenty of daylight left, inhaled the cool summer evening breeze. With comfy shoes and a half charge phone with no messages to respond to, I went for a long pointless walk around Ballard.
Much remained closed and limited from the ongoing pandemic. Few persons were seen scattering about, probably with purposes of commuting back home, not the aimless adventuring I love. The weekday evening might as well been a Sunday morning, as most remain in their homes.
I would not go home just yet, as I held free time and a thirst for adventure has no schedule. I dive in with comfy shoes, a half-charged phone.
Here are some street sights taken then, with notes….
Here is a cool vintage car, 50’s I think. I’m not sure on further details, but it’s a nice combination of beautiful metal shapes and shines.
I love some good wheels, as none should ever go to waste. Let them inspire other working wheels along the way!
I see not a pipe, but an elephant bellhop standing before me! This was to the side of the Mox Boarding House, a highly recommended hub for tabletop gamers (next to Card Kingdom).
Not a pandemic sign. I learned this was to promote…something…by some years ago by local writer Isaac Marion. If you call the number, there’s a very cryptic and bizarre message. More on that here.
Twice Sold Tales Books store in Ballard (different than the one in Capitol Hill). It was closed, but I love the sign!!! There’s not enough signs with dinosaurs on them.
After errands in these shutdown weeks, I often take a small detour through Freeway Park in Downtown Seattle (located above Interstate 5).
Why? Because I need to, to help mentally cheered in this tough time. I must place myself in these city-developed little pockets of nature, to hear the birds chirp and peek at the squirrels. To enjoy the lush greenery and surroundings of gardens, grass, shubbery. This is my treatment of the stir-crazy confines of home.
Also lately, I check on the the cherry trees in full effect for the early Spring, reaching the end of their grand presentation. This is a show that is not cancelled, and moving on well…
The trees here are beautiful in some unique way for every season. But this round of developed silken bright blossoms is a particular show. These display a picturesque beauty, a scattered show of delicate petals tied together in the air, clustered to show an overall storybook setting. This global pandemic changing nothing for them, for the show continues.
But soon, this show will slowly end. The blossoms take a bow, slowly dropping to the ground. I look to the slow finale, feeling appreciative that this process moves on as a natural exception to the sadness of the global pandemic.
I share below, feeling somewhat lucky to have these wonderful views, with likely a bit more current freedom to walk around than other parts of the world. Hopefully, these sights will bring a smile, and reminder of some beautiful normal things still moving on…
It’s been a weird last few months, for reasons now inescapable throughout our current hours of civilization. We collectively must stay apart, stay isolated, be sanitized, lower the curve of those infected, allow and support our busy medical workers.
I’m doing my part in my tiny Seattle apartment, keeping busy with projects, working at home, supporting others. But then, usually every other day, I must go out for errands. I take the routes through downtown where people are less likely, the broader sidewalks, avoid any huddled situations.
Throughout the typically tourist-heavy area of the downtown Seattle area around Pike Place Market, there are empty spaces. The air is cleaner, quiet, calming. Voices are few, silent, reserved for essential communications. I pass by someone infrequently, remain distance but smile to spread positive vibes.
I also carry my camera often. It’s not the best, just a Canon Rebel T6…great for those with decent incomes. I have many lenses for it. My current one I often use now is the EFS 18-136mm macro lens. It’s a beauty for sure, but it also weighs a little more than I am used to when placing it in my backpack. For these big empty streets, it’s a perfect accessory to capture these surreal moments.
From this week, I share some favorite moments captured from my essential walks.
That’s all for now. Take care and be safe out there.
Stay home if you are sick, avoid crowds, use keep washing those hands.
Weeks ago, many passed off the COVID-19 strain as just another virus, something that may die out soon, and whatever else puts most of our 1st world lives feel comfortable, and at ease.
But, then comes those little alarming reports of rising cases, people affected, and the deaths, all increasing at an exponential rate. Such was local here in Seattle, but then reported in other states, and other countries, and you then you look back outside, and the magnitude of the situation becomes global.
In the downtown streets of Seattle, the streets gain an unsettling emptiness. Devoid of heavy entertainment, there is mere purpose left among visitors and locals. Local business owners and staff share in the melancholy silence, lacking participation and their future in question. I choose a few small stores to spent money on some simple things around the Pike Place Market, doing what little I can with those little ounces of morale to spare.
Recently, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Italy remains quarantined, and many significant events closed down or canceled. Some are far more affected than others, and I feel a bit fortunate not to suffer at the bottom. Yet, I am also unhappy at the slow, messy response by our national government under the current Executive Branch administration. Still, we listen together now, anxious for the unknown days ahead and hope for a bounce-back recovery soon.
I felt a wandering need between destinations. I am currently unemployed and feeling the struggle of this new emptiness. Now, there are no new friends, no new gatherings. I fight this further despair with home projects, but taking a moment infrequent to appreciate the new calm. I reflect on what will be a hard lesson for humanity, that our civilization that relies on commerce and consumption means nothing to microscopic strains of viral infections. We should be mindful of each other; help when needed. That is how we best get through and keep living.
Meanwhile, here are some recent pictures of the new quiet around the normally tourist heavy areas of downtown Seattle. I hope for a return to the usual noise soon.
That clownfish, also known as anemonefish, are born male, But, the dominant adult one of its group becomes female when the previous one dies. It’s an irreversible change, where it can then reproduce with another male, for the next generation of hermaphroditic organisms.
Clownfish are mostly found in coral reefs in south Asia, and Australia, feeding on a diet of plants and very small organisms (algae, zooplankton, tiny crustaceans). Clownfish live in harmony with sea anemones, sharing in food scraps and immune to their tentacle released toxins meant for prey. Those anemones also cover as shelter from larger predators. The clownfish pays their kindness back by removing parasites, and sometimes standing guard.
These strange factoids are just morsels of the countless grand wonders that make up of our complex planet, and build ecosystems meant to naturally create a long-lasting system of life coexistence.
I learned of such and more in a recent visit to the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59, where I took the above pictures. Such wonderful things, I will share of more in later postings, spread out over future times. I hope you will enjoy, and be as fascinated as I was in observing, learning of these lively occurrences.
I see the going out of business signs more now, spread among the malls, department stores, big names of yesterday giving up their land. Past vibrant with the rising consumerism of societies spending addictions, now withering from the lack of capitalist sunlight focused more on the Amazons of online shopping. Or perhaps, it’s all just from unwise business practices, unpaid loans, and becoming prey for the savvy vulture capitalists who see not the products and potential, but the money to picked from the bones of these once-great behemoths.
Now, the downtown Macy’s store in downtown Seattle is next. It began as the Bon Marché store in 1890 (not to be confused with the famed Le Bon Marché in Paris, founded in 1838), which grew into a chain of its own until about the early 2000’s where a number mergers would end up with its name gone, and eventually put into the Macy’s department store chain collective, based in New York City.
Much like many other Macy’s stores closing in 2019, and more scheduled for 2020, everything must go. Here, the local Macy’s was a familiar cornerstone of Seattle’s big department store scene since its Bon Marché beginnings. The interior was much like any other grand upper-middle class catering atmosphere, with central escalators leading to the usual departments of fashion and home goods. But on the exterior was a felt presence, welcoming to spendy tourists and locals with its vintage architecture built-in 1929 designed by local architect John Graham Sr. During the holidays, its massive Holiday star light decoration would light the way outside for locals and tourists to partake in the seasonal consumerism inside
Its upper floors sold to Amazon for office space in recent years, then eventually struggled with likely expensive upkeep related to booming property values. Macy’s as a downtown Seattle store will end very soon.
I meanwhile, dropped by to scavenge for bargain deals. Not disappointing as I would buy new pants, socks, shirts, that were previously beyond my affordable range. In that venture, I was fascinated by what felt like the end of an era, not just for this Macy’s, but many department stores gone over the recent era. How many will be left by 2030?
But for now, here are some moments observed of these final days of the Bon Marché Pacific Northwest legacy, founded in 1890. At least, it had a good full century run.
Lately, I feel this city is getting that crazy reputation for rain, because that’s what’s been happening this winter season. Sure, Seattle has its overall reputation of rainfall. But, I am not impressed with the amount of rain we get in this crazy town over the years, after moving here in 2012. We get the showers a lot, but often not feeling very drenched or feeling the need for galoshes and durable umbrellas.
Yet, here we are after nearly a full month of rain in January. That’s 29/31 days with 9.23 inches average, beating the national January 2020 average at 5.57. Yep, it’s really raining, and not a drizzle.
Still, Seattle is not the rainiest city in the U.S., not even by a top ten from many studies. According to an updated report last year by worldatlas.com, the most wet action are in some cities of the deep southeast region.
But for now, it’s undeniable wet outside with a forecast of more precipitation ahead.
Hopefully by the end of winter, the showers will slow down and give us a pleasant, more walkable spring season. This wet weather also contributes to a healthy environment cycle, keeps farms going, helps small animals survive naturally, keeps everything growing. I also love looking at those wet streets, cleaned buildings, enjoy the calming sound of pitter-patter in-between.
So, for those in the area feeling a bit too drenched here from this downpour, don’t let the showers get you down. Instead, put on some happy music and let your smile be your umbrella.
– Orion T
The picture above was taken by me in the middle of this rainy season from atop the Columbia Tower. I recall being in a good mood, leading me to appreciate the momentthat rain often brings.
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.
Meanwhile, there is some snow here in the Emerald City, for about three days now.
But, feeling it depends on the area. In the eastern regions of Bellevue to and through the mountains, there is a white winter wonderland now. The northern areas have heavy patches as well. Closer to downtown, not so much, as I notice remains on the rooftops, cars, some around trees. I am not impressed so far…
But, I do appreciate the what the snowfall leaves to the cityscapes. They bring peaceful chill and serenity throughout. I walk and let it sink in, wishing for a little more.
– Orion T
The above pic is taken at the Cultural Landscape Foundation in Freeway Park. This is a place that is wonderful, every day of the year. But the snow changes, makes this view a different special.
I spent some hours in Downtown Los Angeles last week, sadly with two little time to explore much of this grand area.
In the past, I would check out the many awesome murals there, and explore its art galleries. This time not, as I there for other meetings, then moving on to my next destination before the sunfall. Yet, with about 15 minutes to spare, I checked out a couple large murals by the Pico public rail station.
The one from the pic above is byFabio Lopez, who goes by his street artist name Dourone, a Spanish artist from Madrid, Spain. His artwork is featured on many walls around the world, each with a different message and unique vision. Check out more his work via instagram @duourone and on his official site dourone.com
Here below is another mural, in beautiful color giving love to the Clippers and its star player, Kawhi Leonard. The surrounding is a mix of positive messages and imagery that matches the vibe of this colorful city. I could not find any info on the artist.
And that was all for my mural gazing in the downtown area for now. I shall return eventually, and hopefully have more time for urban exploring and other grand mural finds.
So, here I am late again, posting not quite timely. I lost track of time again, not quite looking back or forward. I am here, for each day trying to enjoy some moments when possible.
That’s how I left the previous year and decade, going back to how I began both, by escaping and walking distant ground, collecting my thoughts into sustainable moments of bliss. This time, to my old areas of southern California, to spend time with friends and family.
But finally, the New Year sharing part sinks in, and it’s eventually time to share in that joy, days later. Here was the glory of the first day of my new decade, upon a quite beach that is often used as a backdrop for Miami, Florida in various movies and TV shows. Here the long beach that is upon Long Beach, California.
I walked the first hours of daylight for 2020 late and midday slightly hungover from the Eve before. I embraced the warmish weather (compared to Seattle) healing, walking the local shore. The beach felt soft to my sandals with a lovely gentle breeze highlighted by a fresh blue sky, trying to ignore the bits of trash piled up from the recent firework festivities. I did well to resist the allure of social media and constant messages lighting my pocket sleeve, all Happy New Year or whatever. Rather, I stare into the calm of the larger world offered to me, and it looks back to me.
Very pleasant. This steadied for about 2 hours, taking my sweet time to stop and admire this simple moment. Occasionally, I would cross path with another human. We would smile for a moment, say a Happy New Year greeting, then move on in opposite direction. Sometimes, I would rest on the sand, occasionally taking out my notepad to scribble some thoughts and ideas in preservation of later creative productivity.
There was more to the day, of which I will share soon. And, more to this California trip, and more to the last decade and into this one. I have much fresh content, that I wish to share. But, choices were made towards giving myself time to unplug and rethink my life direction and not treat my writings and content sharing like chores. The timing is off, but the wait to those who share in my joys will find such late belated things to be timeless and worth celebrating on any day. I will post some more good stuff, soon.
The lights above are from a large tree in Central Vancouver (Canada), in a recent visit. I love my blurry shots in a time that feels very unclear yet still colorful. Now, I’m in Southern California with limited online access, feeling more festive inside than outside with family and friends.
Enjoy what the sky gives to the ground, especially after the rain.
The picture above is from the basketball courts in Cal Anderson Park, in the Capitol Hill district of central Seattle. The rain hit hard, and the gloom remains. I returned from an eye exam with my eyes freshly dilated. The world to me was a blur for about 2 hours, But walking around, I can still appreciate the beauty in it when given, and here it was…the peace of the day upon an empty space.
I took the picture in blind faith, that all would work out in the right perspective.
Here’s a big gingerbread person, dancing around at the Candytown Holiday Festival in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada. Gotta love that!
This fresh cheer has me excited for the goofy carefree spirit of the holiday season (as long as you don’t play into the madness of the shopping season pressures including Stupid Black Friday). More egg nog, please!
I’m here for a few days, seeing old friends and away from stress. I’m also doing my holiday shopping through some cool local businesses, and having a silly blast. Lots of maple flavored things!
“Colour is uncontainable. It effortlessly reveals the limits of language and evades our best attempts to impose a rational order on it… To work with colour is to become acutely aware of the insufficiency of language and theory – which is both disturbing and pleasurable.” – David Batchelor, Scottish artist and writer currently based in London.
– Orion T,
The picture was recently taken up close in a lobby of a new building in downtown Seattle, while waiting for a friend to arrive.