The calm, empty streets of Seattle now

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.

Orion T

Waiting for the emptiness to pass…

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.

Orion T

Reflecting over what happens for happiness…

Not much happened over the weekend, and that may be a good thing…

That space gave me time to ponder, walk around, talk to people, participate in a project study, meet new friends, learn a little Python coding, fix my laptop, give a good hard look a change in direction, write some short stories which I will someday publish.

Okay, that’s a lot to reflect on. Yet still, not much really happened over the weekend because that was a lot of great moments that’s don’t imply drama, follow-up, expressing of concern of spreading the emotion of some great joy or sadness felt. I just had time to live in some great moments, that just developed with myself, friends, strangers. This was a all mixture of entertainment, study, creativity, sharing, pondering with some light planning. All happened, but passing through in a relaxing, smiling flow.

Oh, never mind. A lot happened, now that I reflect on my writing here.

Orion T

The picture above, I took last Friday night after some heavy rain, at the University of Washington. Here is the Suzallo Library on campus, an amazing building with a Hogwartsesque main reading room. I passed by that buildng last night in the dark, cold lonely night, with an urge to take pictures of the this beautiful observed moment. I really liked this shot, but wish I had a better camera to capture the fine details.

The Rainy Rain of Rain City

Another day of rain in Seattle…

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 moment that rain often brings.

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

On this Veteran’s Day of 2019

Today, on November 11, also known as Veteran’s Day, where we remind ourselves to honor those who served.

This is the day to honor the 18.2 million veterans of the armed forces currently living in the United States. As of 2018 (according to the U.S. Census community survey), an estimated 50% of those veterans are age 65 and older, while 9.1% were younger than age 35. 1 and 12 overall, are women. About 6.3 million are Vietnam-era vets.

There’s more to all that, and most of us probably know a veteran who served, who may have been through combat duty or willing to go into that high level of danger, because they believe in our country that much. We thank them, and give share some extra treatment where we can, perhaps talk and discuss that service, share stories, be proud of them, and never forget. Others can understand, maybe be inspired, or delve more into the lives of those who served, while many among them still have there own battles to fight.

According to a recent report by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 6,139 Veterans in 2017 committed suicide, compared with 5,787 in 2005. About 5.1 are on disability. The number of Veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome varies by their time of service, where 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan related conflicts suffer from some form of PTSD. The last count by the VA in January 2018, estimates 37,800 living without a home on a night during that time. 

So yes, there is a lot more to this day than parades and social media shout outs, because what this entails is more than the day. Don’t forget, honor, keep communications, and be kind enough to help when needed, to those who served.

Orion T

The above shot was from the Columbia Tower this morning in Seattle to its Space Needle, with my decent zoom lens.

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.

The dreamy morning float

Here, an amazing view from high up my downtown Seattle metropolis, with a mix of dark and lights cloud tones, as peek sunshine and light rain dance slowly about. Meanwhile, the vastness of Elliot Bay provides a smooth, peaceful surface. The Olympic Mountains are beyond, hidden not quite ready to share the scene. I appreciate the moment in short, observing that trancing beauty echoed into future otherworldly inspiration.

A delicious, puffy weekend treat

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Ymmmm, puffle!

From that, occurred a fitting theme to the latest South Lake Union Saturday Market, a local weekend event happening through the late Spring, and much of summer. They had an ice cream social, where desserts of frozen sugary joy would be sold and served on a lineup of small trucks, carts, tents. Such was perfect for this warmer than expected day of brighter, hotter sunlight.

The most eye-catching for me was a tent for Puffle Up. Their specialty was a special form of bubble waffle, folded over to hold strategically placed additives of the tasty and sweet variety (popular and possibly originated in Hong Kong, but not sure). Choices were great, where I picked the one with strawberries, bananas, chocolate, whipped cream, and Pocky sticks. Adding ice cream would be a small priced extra, which I turned down.

What a beautiful thing this treat to behold, to stare at for a long moment (pictured above), before devouring it in a state of blissful joy. The tasteful combination is similar to a crepe, but with the waffle texture and its open-air spots, giving a focused experience of collapsing squish.

I recommend Puffle Up, especially if you are an outgoing person who loves local festivals and markets. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram, to learn more. There’s also a Yelp list of Seattle area places where bubble waffle desserts are served.

– Orion T

 

A city wakes up slowly, clutching its blanket

Recently this Thursday morning, some intense marine layer fog covered the Emerald City.

Then by 10am, the fog slowly dispersed. Revealed, the busy downtown area would enjoy a lively blue day, followed by a dreamy evening of humid layers.

– Orion

I took the picture above, from high upon the Columbia Tower. Notice the tip of the Space Needle!

You Spin Me Round Like a Record…

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…Right round like a record, baby
Right round round round…
― vocalist Pete Burns of the 80s British band Dead or Alive

The picture is of the Seattle Great Wheel upon Pier 57 waterfront. I shoot while waiting in the wind on a bench for some minutes to mean something. I go for a 15-second shutter speed, low ISO setting exposure. I like the result.

– Orion T

April Bloom in the Pacific Northwest

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To fully appreciate, look close…

There are fresh blooms to behold through this wet season this April. Such is welcome, and natural for this time in the Pacific Northwest, as fresh color is added to an otherwise grey week.

Throughout this Seattle area, some trees once again blossom with silkiness and lively character. If in the Downtown area, I recommend walking Freeway Park, located next to the Washington State Convention Center, and partially over the Interstate 5 freeway.  You will find a nice variety of colors and textures now…

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But to fully appreciate, look close…

– Orion T

This Seattle Ice Age Cometh and Gone

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What a cold, snowy, slushy, wet week it so far in the Pacific Northwest…

The snow is thick and still ongoing in many areas. I hear the snowstorms have more recently hit Vancouver, Canada pretty hard. Portland also got a lot. It’s all pretty much everywhere now. But here in Central Seattle, the snowfall stopped, for now. Then we have some rain coming forward, melting much of the snow to wet, mucky slush. More snow may yet come, but for the next few days. we get a break from the sky, maybe.

I walked around a bit yesterday and the day before to examine the results of this Seattle Snowmageddon 2019, so far. We got covered pretty good. The above picture is from the Pacific Science Center by the Space Needle, where even the dinosaurs must freeze for this temporary ice age.

I also surveyed a few other local spots and took some pictures. Here are some around the Seattle Center and Denny Park…

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That’s all for now. Be careful, don’t run, and look out.

– Orion T

Seattle’s Snowpocalypse at UW

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It’s snowing in Seattle now, with more to come.

I’m enjoying it, for bringing a rare and peaceful beauty to this busy city. Though, many have to make adjustments to their lives, especially for those driving on the roads. It’s not as cold as the snowy areas of the east coast but definitely can feel an icy chill in the air.

Here are some pics recent from the Univerisity of Washington, in North Seattle. If in the area, do enjoy and explore, but be careful.

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The Depth of Nature

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“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

The picture was at Killarney Lake, in the middle of Bowen Island. This was during my stay in Vancouver, Canada in middle of a nice group hike. It’s a nice, short walk for those who can spare an hour or two (the extra hour for the trail that goes around the lake).

But right now, I wish there was a calm lake easily accessible to my current situation, living in a noisy city. Staring at this picture will have to do, for now.

– Orion T

Natures’ Complexity

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“Complexity is the property of a real-world system that is manifest in the inability of any one formalism being adequate to capture all its properties. It requires that we find distinctly different ways of interacting with systems. … Therefore complex systems are not fragmentable”

– D. C. Mikulecky, Professor of Physiology at the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, THE COMPLEXITY OF NATURE

The picture above is from an awesome little hike on Bowen Island, in Vancouver, Canada. Bowen Island is a peaceful area of tranquility, roughly an hour away from the big metro area, by road then ferry.  Deep within, is a complex ecosystem to observe and study. I will share more on this and other notes of the trip soon.

– Orion T

The Spirit of Christmas Present…

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And another Christmas Day has come and gone (almost midnight right now). We tried to be merry as many of us struggle with inconvenient news, emotional angst, and hardships. Yet, the best we can do throughout the day is share some warmth and light to others who may need it through support, prayer, gifts to others in need. In that collectivity, I hope this day was joyous in whatever way such can be delivered, or given to everyone taking part in this annual tradition.

– Orion T

Hey November!

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I almost titled today “Hey Newvember,”  because this month is feeling that fresh, and today feels special enough to usher that in. But, I love November for what it always is, and here we are again.

Why? Perhaps because change is in the air. We got the new holidays season coming around, a very notable Election Day coming up (to all US citizens, you better VOTE!), NaNoWriMo, Fall TV season schedules, a lot of football, other stuff I will remember later.

Yep, the Fall season is really kicking in, especially around here in the Pacific Northwest with the winds, rain, chills seeping in as they remind us to bundle up, close the windows, take some vitamins.

Bring it on!

– Orion T

 

The momentum of the abstract view

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Sometimes, I look up. And, I take a picture with a camera.

Sometimes then, I forget to switch a setting meant for the night. The original shot was kind of boring, while the overexposed revealed a weird dimension of countless angles and forgotten math.

I love it.

The actual shot is below a fixture inside the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland. Further details of the moment are unimportant.

– Orion T

Observing the revealing dead life at Rattlesnake Lake

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It’s been six years since I last visited Rattlesnake Lake, a wonderful little body of water by North Bend, Washington. There were, and still no actual rattlesnakes there. The origin of its name is said to be from the sound of the seed pods of the local camas flower, drying out in the wind.

There is something much more interesting than its name. Here, was a small town over 100 years ago here, named Moncton in 1907 (formally Cedar Falls). The town did not last long, as it was built near a reservoir, taking in water through a very faulty dam. The floodwaters took over the town, as the settlers evacuated. Until 1915, the town was officially no more. Rattlesnake Lake took over.

You can find more on that story, here.

Much later, and more recently of last weekend, I visited Rattlesnake Lake. I was hoping for some peace and quiet on perhaps maybe the last sunny day of the year. To my surprise, I found the lake to have lost much of its water. A local told me it’s been ongoing, from the current changing climate, bringing in dryer days.

The view of the lake revealed a dramatic change, as a result.

Now shown, are many tree stumps and tree remnants from its days of heavy logging for the nearby former town.  It’s an awesome, fresh site to see so many scattered about. Stop and study the area, you’ll find some odd formations. One can easily imagine this alien landscape, perhaps inspire new tales of fantasy and maybe new spooky tales.

I trampled through some fresh mud to get a closer look, explore for different angles to its fantastic revelations. I took pictures, some presented below…

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I highly recommend a visit to those around the Seattle area. There is a nice hourly scenic hike, a pleasant nearby park, and other interesting things to check out. It’s close to North Bend, where the cult TV show Twin Peaks was filmed. Also nearby, are many more points of interest around here. I may share in the near future on some favorites, as I will definitely return to North Bend in the future.

For more on Rattlesnake Lake, including visiting info, click here.

– Orion T

Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, up close…

Continued from my last post, here are some closer views below of Abalone Cove Shoreline Park and Ecological Preserve, off the coast of Southern California in Rancho Palos Verde. I explored near the Sacred Cave with longtime friends, during my very short stay in the South Los Angeles region. I wanted something different, and here we are…




Overall, a sweet and peaceful place for shore explorers and tide-pool enthusiasts. I remained wet, and glad I had the right shoes for stepping over the many rocks and watery holes. The tide was low, enough..

If interested, check out the official www.rpvca.gov page for more info, warnings, and area closures.

– Orion T

Sunday Settling Down

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I had a wonderful day this latest Sunday (now past midnight and it’s Monday).

Add a gentle breeze to the mid-70s F. This Sunday had a fine, calming .  Just hours before, I ate a damn good “California style” burrito from a food truck, along with some freshly squeezed strawberry lemonade from another at the South Lake Union Food Festival. Then, worked on some writing and reading while gradually drawing my feet to the waterfront.

And that was much of the good day, then getting to the sunset time made it wonderful. The view above is from Pier 66 on the Seattle waterfront, at about 8:50pm.

– Orion T

Another Happy New Summer

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The Great Wheel at Seattle’s waterfront is still a favorite familiar site, along with the peaceful Elliot Bay waters beyond. After seeing the backdrop in gray for so long, I learned to appreciate the return of the blue for this middle time of the year.

The above picture is from a few days ago.

Today (and currently past midnight), I just realized the summer solstice time just started, as my life is full of busy distractions (and worn out from much work overtime) to further notice. Yet, I feel the pleasant, warmer temperatures alongside the brighter skies and wonderful smiles that come with. Such things give a natural comfort to my day, but I feel I am missing something else.

Hmm.

Perhaps, I should slow down and enjoy this summer season.

– Orion T

 

Riding the Great Weather

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Lately, the warm and sunny weather has brought out the best in people.

For me over the recent weekend, the effect been more exercise by moving around more. I also got some nice new walking shoes, making my recent walk through the West Seattle longer, more enjoyable. Also, I did some reading and writing

Alki Beach of West Seattle felt especially pleasant, with people in abundance doing many good things possible and special to this wonderful climate. The best of which included volleyball, kayaking, jogging, conversing, holding hands, eating ice cream out of a cone, dog-walking,  and leaving their mobile devices alone.

The summer is about a month away, with more days of good sun to make up for some of the gloom and freeze of the prior months (at least here in the Pacific Northwest US).

I look forward!

– Orion T

I shot the picture last Saturday afternoon. No idea on who the bicyclist is, but his balance skills are excellent. And I think he probably appreciated the cheers in the distance (and a big thanks to him for allowing me time to get my camera ready). I could also overhear someone whistling and complementing his physique. That got a chuckle out of me.

Looking at some Romanesco Broccoli

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I past by some interesting, and larger sized broccoli at Sosio’s Produce inside Pike Place Market in Seattle. Only $4.99 a pound for this, and what the signed said was “Organic Italian Broccoli Romanesco.”

According to a Wikipedia entry on Romanesco broccoli, it has grown in Italy since the 16th century. Also known:

“Romanesco superficially resembles a cauliflower, but it is chartreuse in color, and its form is strikingly fractal in nature. The inflorescence (the bud) is self-similar in character, with the branched meristems making up a logarithmic spiral. In this sense the bud’s form approximates a natural fractal; each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in yet another logarithmic spiral. This self-similar pattern continues at several smaller levels. The pattern is only an approximate fractal since the pattern eventually terminates when the feature size becomes sufficiently small. The number of spirals on the head of Romanesco broccoli is a Fibonacci number.”

Fascinating!

– Orion T

The Second Sunset past Seven

The best thing about this new daylight saving time change, is more time to savor a good sunset. Especially, with the warm weather.

So I did, behind the Pile Place Market in the new deck area. The shot above is from my phone, with its last bit of battery life before shutting down.

– Orion T

The Outside In

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The sun was an inviting element to this particular past weekend for 2018. I think this was the first time of this year, where the Emerald City got complete sunshine for both Saturday and Sunday.

Or, at least that what I have noticed while not being indoors for most this weekend. I walked around a lot through downtown and the waterfront on errands and eating. But particularly striking was the Central Library in the early afternoon. I was there to finish my taxes and check out some movies. The light of the sun directly shined through, causing the revealing pattern shadows on the floor. I had to take a picture (see above).

Then, the only movie I checked out was Alien: Covenant. I watched it later, and felt no excitement. That movie is super boring and put me to sleep.

– Orion T

It’s just the rain…

“I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry. Then I looked at the window and thought: Why, yes, it’s just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and turned over, sadder still, and fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on.”

― Ray Bradbury,
Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury’s Adventures Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland

The picture is a from a recent hour at a bus stop, using a camera with just enough battery life to capture this moment in Downtown Seattle.

Orion T