Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's Raining Books

Actually it's not, since the book is a week late and there are no books for my Seattle trip. But no problem, I'm so thick with miles, I flew here for $5 roundtrip - and why not? Wanted to see my friend Robert anyway who'd invited me up months back, and Tombiehl, the other good friend of mine whose name has been gummed up into one word due to syllable-ic deficit disorder, the other being Tindo

Robert lives in a houseboat in a marina in an industrial section of Seattle along Salmon Bay opposite Ballard. You walk down three sections of the marina to the very end and there it floats!

Wrestling, as do we all, with customer service

Back deck with view of Ballard Bridge. The channel connects Lake Union with Puget Sound, so it's full of fishing boats and even cargo ships

The humble futon where I slept in college splendor

I went out for a walk, and flaneur that I am, no destination was on the agenda...a mile or so later, walking along the channel toward Puget Sound, I watched this railroad bridge open and close for a big boat and then strolled down this a final avenue and entered Discovery Park, which turned out to be a giant forest...

In a place with so many trees, all the roads are shady

The minute I spied a trail break, in I went, reminiscing about my boyhood days (I lived up here from 2-12 yrs old) here in the Northwest when everyday I walked through a forest on my way to and from school. No wonder I love trees and mountains and behave like an elusive woodland creature

Nettles...and did I brush my arm against them to feel once again the itch and sting I dreaded as a child? Oh yes I did

And then the forest opened up and there was this Native American museum and cultural center, with all sorts of amazing indigenous art

A depiction of orcas as creatures of the underworld

Below is about how daylight was kept in a box until they let it out. If you've ever lived in Seattle, you could easily see how such a myth might arise, since one can go months and months without seeing much light!

And some intriguing modern pieces on display as well:

And then I had an overwhelming desire to see the Puget Sound, home to orcas, otters, salmon, etc.... so through the forest once more I went....

Blackberries in the foreground, which I once again picked and ate as I was wont to do as a wee lad. I didn't know this before, but apparently Luther Burbank (he of russet potato fame) brought blackberries to the NW and then they went feral. They are originally a European fruit.

The northwest is a kind of natural paradise, one of two I've lived in - the other being Northern California

I circled for a mile or two all through this beautiful forest and its scattered meadows...sometimes I am permitted to return to a meadow as the wonderful poet Robert Duncan once said - and I say to myself often

I was blissing out, and grateful I'd come up here, and thinking about the expulsion from the garden - because humans may have been expelled, but the garden is still here, and if you put aside your pain and sorrow for just a moment and enter the munificent and dazzling present, paradise is regained

I knew and climbed maples like this as a boy

And firs like this!

And I felt like this (Chakraman from Phenomenal Love, a cool little spiritualist shop I discovered last week back home in LA)

Compare that forest to where I normally hike...lovely in its way, but I'm a forest creature at heart

Took the bus downtown to meet my friend David Mendoza, who I used to work with at LAANE. He now works for the governor handling the pot legalization process (he's an attorney who went to law school at Seattle U)

Seattle Library

A dwarfish Pope John XXIII...odd, as he's kind of a giant in pope terms, having liberalized the church considerably with Vatican II...at The Cathedral of St James where I made my three wishes

Here's a crappy pic of David on left because I can't get him to send me the good one he took! If you're reading this David, do the right thing and save the blog! :P

Que bien! David delivered...and now to introduce a pantheon of progressivism, from left to right: the progressive feminist political consultant, Tiffany...Trebor, econ justice fundraiser...Angelica, who also consults - on affordable housing issues...and David, who brings a kinder legal environment to all things weed. Really nice people, doing good work. Thx David for making this happen!
Angelica actually lives in LA, so I plan to see her soon :)

The inimitable Tom Biehl, who even looks younger than me, but is actually a year older, as well as a father of 3 and head of surgery at Virginia Mason Hospital. Amazing man, and he took me on my first backpacking trip (to Yolla Bolly wilderness in Mendocino Mts) way back in 1983, because of course, he was also an Eagle Scout. Anyway, for those who know me well, the man who introduced me to backpacking is basically guru status as the mountains are my soul if there is such a thing. Here he stands in front of his kiwi tree which, though it's never produced fruit, has taken over the side of the house. Tom says he needs a male plant to get things going, but the 3 he planted all died. Praise the goddess and get your kiwis elsewhere!

Robert and I in Tom's backyard...and later over at Barbara's. She's an amazing woman, in her 80s, and having lived in Europe, China and all over the country, she's settled back in the lovely NW where her kids and grandkids live. And she's a reader! She was actually Robert's drama teacher back in New Jersey in the 1950s and was instrumental in saving his soul, lost young alienated gay boy that he was - as have been many of us. Robert worked most of his career as a technical writer for Boeing and spent time in Europe and Iran as well. He reads EVERYTHING and we first met through my books and have since developed and wonderful friendship :) We just get along so well, probably because he's kind and authentic, and into thriftstores, books, history and manhattans, all passions of mine...
Fuerza Roberto!

Was a great trip overall and as we strolled around Capitol Hill before I left, we stopped in this used bookshop...

Robert found some anthologies where I had stories published, and sweet fan/advocate/booster that he is, he bragged to the manager who proceeded to gush (to my blush) and suggest a reading...so perhaps I'll be back before I run off to Mexico in February. Not sure I can swing it, and it will definitely be a rainier trip, but we shall see....
the lovely manager, Jamie...

Sad to leave the land of water and forest, but alas, the desert calls me back....

...still, I know where to find the trees and water upcanyon....