Category Archives: The Shore

Elliot Bay Books

I work in Pioneer Square, Seattle, on Occidental Avenue South—a street with no cars. Around the corner is Elliott Bay Books. Elliott Bay is an intellectual landmark in Seattle’s history, a place that anchors the city in a sea of change. It’s a book store with worn plank floors that groan beneath your feet like a wooden boat working in a seaway. There are as many levels to the store as the Robinson family’s
tree house—the floor suddenly pierced by a staircase that descends to a rough cafe or rises to receding levels of books like a trick of perspective in an Escher print. It reminds me most of the chandleries that still existed on the waterfront of Los Angeles harbor when I was young—the smell of Stockholm tar and Manila hemp and kerosene, the dark and crooked places crowded with ground tackle, hurricane lights, and oilskins, and the old men with scarred faces who stood behind high counters, dour and frightening. Those were places where a child, or an old man, could dream as deeply as a mollusk encompassed by a shell.

Wind Song

Ken Cooper, Cultural Consultant for Fish, Timber and Wildlife of the Lummi Tribe of Washington state, listens to the "trees as they talk to one another, the songs in the wind, the stories of the pathway that started a long time ago…When I come back I play the song that I hear floating on the wind and play the feeling that I hear coming out of those trees that are pained, that know they’re going to be cut down. They do talk. They have a lot to teach us. Anybody who goes in the mountains and sees beauty has a form of healing."

Continue reading Wind Song

Not Man Apart

A few days respite from work before beginning the commute from Kingston to the Seattle waterfront onboard one of the new Mosquito fleet. This morning I sat on a park bench overlooking the Kingston marina drinking a damnably expensive cup of coffee beneath a sky obscured by high cloud. The water of Appletree Cove was so still that concentric ripples left by a gull taking flight could be seen half way to the far shore. I listened to the high, distant drone of a float plane, the twitter of swallows returned from the south, the irritated cackle of crows (crows seem always irritated), and the sound of gulls squabbling over some scrap of food or place to stand.

Continue reading Not Man Apart