April 2018

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer #22: Seafair Grinch

Summer #22: Last week, Seattle celebrated all things fast and loud that cause traffic jams at the annual Seafair festival. The first weekend, there was a downtown run and a "torch-light" parade featuring clown-like pirates. This weekend, the more offensive weekend, boats raced in Lake Washington, and the Blue Angels, the navy's performance jets, danced and roared overhead. The pilots practiced Thursday and Friday and performed Saturday and Sunday. The planes come very close to our home. One pilot with dark hair and a mustache was picking his nose. Really.

Since we live in the area, these practice flights make us feel like we're like living in a war zone. The house shakes, and the roar as the planes pass stops any conversation. I wonder what this might feel like for those refugees and veterans who have lived in war. I know the dogs don't like it. For a few years, we followed the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," philosophy and watched the planes in their intricate formations from a nearby park. Impressive, but too much a reminder of how many of our resources we commit to war instead of to social services and education.

I am a Seafair curmudgeon. A Seafair Scrooge. A Seafair Grinch.

Ann and I went to Paradise on Mount Rainier to escape the onslaught and to see the stunning displays of pink and white heather, snow-white avalanche lillies, majenta Indian paintbrush, and purple Lupine gracing the mountainsides that lead to the towering Mount Rainier. Thursday and Friday were beautifully sunny, but then the weather gods must have thought my siblings were there, so the rain and mist moved in on Saturday. No hail, though, as there was the summer my sister visited.

The trails at Paradise are paved and mostly free of snow by now, so I can hike there with Ann's help. She took a morning walk for about an hour Friday morning, and then we did basically the same walk together. Our walk together took four hours. I'm not fast, but I did walk four hours, so that's progress. I remember the days before brain surgery when I eschewed these trails because they were too easy and too crowded. No longer. Now I embrace them.

There's both a local and an international crowd on that mountain. We met people along the way from our neighborhood, Alabama, China, and West Africa. I took a picture for three guys hiking together, one from China and the other two from West Africa. I summoned my college French and counted, "Un, deux, trois...." One of the guys said to another, "Was she speaking French?" and then to me, "Merci." I summoned the last of my French, "De rien." I doubt I would have had such a deep international conversation at Seafair. In all of our accents, those of us on the trail said to one another, "Isn't this beautiful!"

Driving home, Ann and I listened to the Indigo Girls' album Indians, Nomads, Saints. When they sang, "Everywhere I turn all the beauty just keeps shaking me," I knew exactly what they meant.



  1. I'm obviously very jealous of your trip to Paradise...and I'm so glad you have a chance to enjoy the things you love again.

  2. i'm so pleased that you remember my visit!! must admit that the weather was disappointing, but the point of the trip was to spend some time with you, and in that, i was not the least bit disappointed.


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