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.

The Sadly Gone Newsstand

Last Christmas Eve, I stopped by the world-famous Pike Place Market, to have a last look at a familiar staple of preserved atmosphere for 40 years within Downtown Seattle. There was the First and Pike News newsstand in all its glory, for over 40 years on the corner, ever welcoming and giving locals and tourists a deep look into Seattle culture in print, along with a very wide selection of magazines and reads from around the world.

First and Pike News closed on December 31st, 2019.

That part of the market hit me as a wonderful, nostalgic part of this city, that will likely never come back. Meanwhile, the local Barnes and Noble book store, with another large newsstand holding rows of magazines, recently closed on January 18th, 2020. Both closings add a sadness, of a declining city tradition that is the great multiple newspapers and magazine newsstand.

Both, doubly sad signs of that wholesome access to news and magazines in print, dwindling as not just from its outdated model of receiving ad revenues, but its lessening exposure in public places. More people are exponentially are drawn to new media with our Reddits, Facebooks, Twitters. Then battle it out with instant messages, notifications, invitations, interruptions, memes, all taking our attention to faster and shorter spans, as we frantically swipe through ad revenue life-streams, polluted with data mining, privacy-invading bots, mostly run by online conglomerates.

But for a moment, let’s take a look at the beauty that was a wholesome, plentiful newsstand, with its cheapo snacks, postcards, maps, other helpful things that would help both travelers and locals find their way. We then swipe those eyes on printed pages, keep us focused on just the words and images. Those were light, convenient, with no battery charge notice.

That is a beautiful view of colorful machine-bound printed paperworks.

To see a row of frequent prints, each and choice of topics tailor-made by a passionate and dedicated staff is a joy that I shall remember. The newsstand has the nostalgia of browsing and enjoyment of sampling through what’s worth paying. Also, as a light read for that day in the park or evening on a porch. Some places give a little more like snacks and maps. The sadly gone First and Pike News stand offered many more delights and souvenirs for the passing tourists.

Now, that thrill left this part of Seattle. But maybe, you might know of some newsstands in your area. Stop by, browse and appreciate the joy of printed media, formatted for your full attention. Buy some papers and cheap stuff, and smile to the seller. Every little bit of support helps, and maybe keep that wholesome bit of honest joy a part of your neighborhood for more days ahead.

Orion T

Snowcapped in Seattle…

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.

Gloomy reflections in dialation

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.

– Orion T

The new messages from Post Alley…

I visit the Post Alley section of Seattle’s Pike Place Market often. There, is a little driveway many tourists in the area miss, paying too much attention to the main market floor. Which is sad, because a great trip to the Pike Place Market is never complete without a walk through the Post Alley to check out the Gum Wall, and the art.

I love the art in that area much more. There are visual changes often, with new papered art often covering up the faded. It’s a mix of entertainment, politics, social activism, self-promotion, humor, and advertisements. I believe the bulk of it defines the true artistic soul of Seattle, as a hub of varied culture and awareness.

So, here are some pics of my latest visit a few days ago..

Just a small portion of sticky notes, very heavy and scattered this time.
A random scattering of what Post Alley is all about
A featured piece showcasing the current Hong Kong protests.
Another area, but some faded pieces I still can see from a month or two ago…

And some more by the gum wall area.

That’s all for now. I will definitely return to this spot, many more times.

-Orion T

Leaves after a good shower…

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus, French philosopher, author, and journalist

Here are some wet, wonderful leaves from within Licton Springs Park, a small park in North Seattle. This cozy spot I recommend to wanderers, to take in deep, exciting colors after a long autumn rain. The leaves are now scattered everywhere, many still strong on the trees while others cling to the muddy ground. All are plenty across bridges and steams, connected by damp pathways through a lush mini-forest in the middle of an old neighborhood. This is a little, wondrous place worthy of adventuring for a small time.

Here are recent pictures from my phone…

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.

Happy November

Happy New November to all!

And with that, a change where the Fall season sets in as the many loosened leaves lose color while fresh chill weather ushers in, and the days become a little darker

Also, National Novel Writing Month, Banana Pudding Lovers Month, No-Shave November, National Adoption Month, Aviation History Month, and probably more special stuff. There’s the rising holiday deco in stores, peeks at Black Friday, and other overly commercialized temptations throughout. Then later, there’s Thanksgiving Day, a four day weekend for many, and probably the point of this year where many are feeling done, ready to look back at it all.

But for me, it’s just the here and now. Enjoying each day when possible, enjoying what this time of the year gives.

  • Orion T

The picture above in Seward Park, after a long walk in this nice part of Seattle’s Columbia City area. I was testing some new settings on my camera, with this wild plant soaking in some late day sunlight.

To look inside for the way out…

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930), author of Sherlock Holmes

I passed by a local bike shop, Free Range Cycles, in the Fremont district of north Seattle. It’s a good start for a better escape, but closed at the moment. However, I did peek inside admiring the sunlight merchandise. Here, is beauty observed of the stillness of these human-powered metal steeds. The look of the bicycle is a timeless, natural design, that I think serves as an extension of real body practicality. I admire the many parts both attached and loose, mixed in shiny metal, smooth leather, and mighty rough rubber. I love all here; meant to make local travel simple, enjoyable, yet empowering and healthy.

Hmm.

-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.

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.

Global Climate Strike action, Seattle’s part

This last latest Friday, thousands of school students led thousands more activists into the streets of Seattle. This was in part of similar protests in over 2,500 connected events worldwide, adding to an unknown number surely in the millions, to protest accelerated climate change caused by human recklessness.

This global event on September 20th, is the first Global Climate Strike, inspired by 16-year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Back in August 2018, Greta cut school to protest and call for climate action outside the Swedish parliament building. She started alone but soon joined by many others, gaining worldwide attention, and eventually this event powered by more youth.

So, here in Seattle, the strike was done to surprising numbers. A path of closed blocks led from its Capitol Hill district to the city hall in Downtown. Shortly after the noon, I would join the final city block, cheering on the movement.

I feel there is a concentrated push by ignorant people in power, and greedy corporations, and many who just don’t care…to disdain the countless science data and observations that allowing large amounts of poisons into the air and destroy precious ecosystems is causing harm to our planet. Then, harm comes back to us with difficult weather changes, stemming from those harmful effects.

But, will such activism really help and fix our problems in the long run? Well, that depends on what we do from such reaction. Becoming more involved and informed in politics, economics, making conscious decisions on our consumerism and social activity helps. Green renewable energy, recycling, push for compostable/biodegradable over plastic single-use products help. Fighting peacefully against ignorant forces in power through resistant protest and democracy also helps. A lot of this benefits, but the urgency for better action and solution will increase as the problems resulting from climate change increase.

With that, we will hear more from the concerned youth for sure, hopefully leading to better, smarter changes soon.

Cool Chrome on Hot Wheels

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I spent some good time over at Alki Beach in West Seattle over this weekend, of which I needed.

During that pleasant time, I stumbled upon a good old-fashioned sidewalk car show along a block of the Alki Park area. Behold, beautiful vintage classic cars (mostly Chevies) of the 50s and 60s, all with polished chrome parts, intricate details, lavish interiors, overall high style.  Much love and appreciation were put into restoring these symbols  of big car Americana history.

So now, here are some pictures of this recent cultural observance.

 

 – Orion T

Cotton Candy Cheer

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From this last weekend’s annual Seattle Street Food Festival, I love the cotton candy faces!

I think cotton candy is joyful yet surreal. You enjoy it, then the stick leaves a weird residue on your fingers and lips that dissolves back into the dream that created it.  Did you know sugar is the only ingredient in cotton candy, and it’s fat-free? Not much has changed about it since it was invented In 1904, by two Nashville candy makers introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Here are other treats at this festival I wanted to savor, but too full from excessing on mac and cheese with bubble tea.  I will perhaps go for these at the next Street Food Festival…

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– Orion T

Rainer cherries, adding sweetness to the this summer

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Rainer cherries are back in season!

I love these little tasty tarty things..often ignoring the slightly higher cost at the supermarkets for a good bundle. Rainer cherries are perfect for snacks, best when shared with good friends, and makes the summertime in the PNW a little more special. I also highly recommend them for any Fourth of July get-togethers.

Rainer cherries weren’t always a PNW thing, or anything at all until development in 1952 at the Washington State University by Dr. Harold Fogle, a research scientist of horticulture studies. He crossed two red cherries, the Bing and Van, to create this slightly larger variety with a fiery color blend.

They have a special sweetness and tougher skin, but very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain. Birds also love the Rainer cherries, almost a bit too much as they pick at large portions of local orchards. Through what’s left, picking good ones can be tedious and require extra care for their soft interior texture in transport. Good results lead to high costs from that extra effort. Yet, locals do appreciate and many are sold.

If you can, go get some!

– Orion T

Pride for this end of June carries on

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Pride Month reaches to a close this end of June, as celebrations in all US major cities had their parades and festivities. Such is the annual month for solidarity and recognition of LGBTQ members in our civilization for their basic rights, and to coexist freely without the effects of bigotry and persecution.

This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons in Manhatten, New York City known as the Stonewall riots. Building frustrations from the local gay community in the late 1960s boosted the modern gay-rights movement, building much in the decades ahead.

Meanwhile here in Seattle, a large parade would draw thousands of people over, along with two major festivals in Capitol Hill and the Seattle Center. I missed most for personal reasons tending elsewhere. Yet, I did take around 20 minutes to watch a little of the Sunday parade.

For that moment, and observing the huge crowds of support, I see great development since the Stonewall riots. LGBTQ activism and solidarity are more freely expressed, with growing support and understanding. But, there remain other areas in our world, where such expression is forbidden and met with a terrible penalty. We look to our own leaders, and some failings with the current administration to help protect what should be equal rights to openly engage in same-sex relationships, have legally accepted civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Also, not be discriminated in for employment situations, public accommodations, housing, education needs, and more.

Therefore, the marches and festivities shall move on in more Pride months, perhaps for another 50 years at least. Along the way. humanity collects and grows as we learn to love better.

– Orion T

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!

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

A Jurassic Crossing

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Always make way for a dinosaur.

That was a few weeks ago, by the SeaTac airport on a quiet afternoon. I see this fully animatronic T-Rex crossing the green light walkway, casually as one should in Seattle. Very lifelike!

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This creature previously walked from my toward destination at the time, the Doubletree Hotel. There happened the annual Crypticon, a  horror/occult/spooky fun fandom convention. I had a great time there, engaging with friends new and old. I will share some pics on that visit soon.

Look forward, and keep walking!

– 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. 

Take me out to the ball game!

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This recent Saturday evening was not a great time for the Seattle Mariners, our local baseball team. This major league team played the Minnesota Twins and lose 4-18 by the end of a long night. The Mariners hasn’t been a top tier team of recent years but still has its fans, and many were there for support.

I among them would root for the home team, boo the many knockout hits of the other, and laughed at the numerous foul balls smacked into the side setting. To help cheer up attendees at the T-mobile Stadium, bobbleheads were given out of the Hall of Hame MVPer Ken Griffey Jr.

Overall, a good time though most of us here would have preferred a victory.

The next day, the Mariners won a comeback, beating the Twins 7-4.

– Orion T

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

 

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

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