memory nature

day 15: stop doing those things you like!

Duwamish Head on April 3 2020This picture is a metaphor.

I love walking on the edge of the bulkhead, out there beyond the yellow tape and orange cones–that’s my preferred place to walk when I go to Alki. It is thrilling to hear the waves splashing or crashing at your feet and echoing in the rocks below; it is inspiring to drink in the cool air and find only waves between you and the magnificent snow-capped Olympic mountains to the West. That feeling reminds me of scary-happy moments from childhood. My dad, with his Teddy Roosevelt attitude toward child-rearing, made sure of that! I well recall sweating at the very thought of Snoqualmie Pass, with memories of the wild terror of skiing on an Advanced Slope before I’d really learned how (no lessons of course; lessons were for sissies). Or the exhilaration of holding on for dear life behind a speed boat (with him at the wheel) while learning to water ski the same way. There would be great fun, then the inevitable: crashing, choking on the water, and then laughing hilariously, asking for more! Or crying and wanting to go home.

Learning by doing, that was his motto. Secretly, I think it’s cool. Even though I spent many years complaining and feeling sorry for myself. At any rate, all that scary-fun stuff is over for now.

Back to the photo: the metaphor is not about walking or skiing, it’s not about enjoying the edge.  It signifies everything we love doing in real time with real people. Today we are asked to stop doing that. It’s dangerous.

so it is with life as we know it.


Maybe we’ll find other things to love doing. I’m loving those early morning solitary hikes around West Seattle. Who knew mornings were so refreshing?  (hahaha; no seriously)

My new business is face mask production: a sort of fun pastime, though I’d rather be making arty quilts or revising A Scary Tale of Spring… but it is good to be doing something useful, helping the world, instead of watching from the sides helplessly as disaster spreads like a mold, sucking in vitality, hope and security…

For info on face mask availability: see

Hang in there; see you in the a.m.

American literature art creativity English literature humor quilts

day five: the Elliott Bay moat, new tool of social distancing, and other news from West Seattle

Wow, there is some crazy shit going down out here in Washington state. Last night Governor Inslee issued an official call for WA residents to Stay At Home as much as possible for the next two weeks. Just minutes before that, we learned that the long cement bridge linking the peninsula of West Seattle (where I live) to the mainland was shutting down indefinitely.  Structural damage “suddenly” came to light and the city closed the freeway in one day, giving people only three hours to get home. Apocalypse now!

It’s scary to think what would have happened—would the whole thing have come crashing down? Or just bits?  Perhaps one lane would crumble off and sink into the Duwamish River before pulling the others down after it, as unwitting motorists went hurtling into the deep? Phew! That is one disaster averted, at least.

But now the short distance—about 1.4 miles—from here to downtown looks different. It looms huge, impossible, inaccessible.  That is because there is (and always was) a very very deep body of very very cold water between us.  Huge ships can be seen now and then as they slowly power through to the Port of Seattle docks, the ferries plow back and forth, tugboats and barges crawl by, and the water taxi runs once an hour. Otherwise, people rarely venture into Elliott Bay.

There’s a radical new tool of social distancing: the moat.

West Seattle may become the best Seattle yet!  safest, at any rate.  We’ll just be over here slowly and silently losing our minds!


More news:  The new sign is up for Week 2!  And a new quilt. This one is the large “Alice in Wonderland” quilt.

Week 2 photo

How many books are you reading these days? I’m up to four at once now, in small bits or long luxurious sessions after lunch, or before bed, or anytime really….  (that feels strange to admit).

What I'm reading today Mar 24 2020

W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Journey (surprisingly addictive sweet and mindless fun to imagine life as a dog sees it); Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (Oof, that is a long book; but I promised to read it and it’s really pretty fantastic!), Peter Ralston, The Principles of Effortless Power (bedtime table essential to calm the mind); and Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence (funny and sarcastic portrait of snotty New Yorkers vying for power amongst themselves in the late 19th century).

Sad that the bookstore where I was to discuss David Copperfield has just shut its doors.

😦     I bet it’s a sad day all around.  Hope you’re ok.  Hang in there and I’ll see you tomorrow.