When people talk about visiting or living in Seattle, Washington, one of the first things discussed is the rain. There’s a reason for this – it rains a lot in Seattle. Or, rather, it drizzles. Even so, my experience of the area is not as dreary as many people describe and certainly not as dark and overshadowed as these photos suggest. It was actually extremely nice, weather-wise, for the vast majority of the few years that I lived there.
Photography and Dead Weight
These photos are posted to this blog because they are the only surviving photos of the northwest. I’ve made several trips across the United States, both by plane and by car, and I had many piles of photos to prove it. These trips frequently started at some point in the Midwest, stopped at one of the three coasts, and then circled back. At one time I had photos of landscapes from every state west of both Wisconsin and Texas. At one time I had landscape and nature photos of every state east of Wisconsin, north of Missouri and south of Massachusetts. At one time I had photos of most of the states south of Missouri and east of Texas (including Texas). At one time….
Travel has a way of changing your perspective on property. This is one of the things I love most about moving around so much. There is nothing like having to consistently move (physically MOVE) everything you own, on a semi-regular basis, to keep the true value of things in proper perspective. Ultimately, things fall into one of the following categories:
- Necessary to survival.
- Necessary to lifestyle and comfort.
- Necessary to professional objectives.
- Wanted (for personal-attachment reasons).
- Dead weight.
Anything falling under category five get’s eliminated (fast). Unfortunately, physical photographs frequently move from one category to the next until they are simply to damaged, bulky or heavy to realistically move (again and again). Since most of my archived photos were pre-digital-photography era film-based images, they are now gone.
As time goes on, I will work on recapturing the landscapes of many of the locations I have visited, as well as those that remain on my bucket-list. For now, my photo-travel postings will utilize what I have at hand.
Seattle and Sunshine
My memory of the beach photos posted at the top of this blog are as hazy and dreary as the photos themselves because of the company that I was keeping on that day. As I mentioned in my New Mexico post, I was going through a breakup and that individual was with me during this particular beach stroll. So, in many ways, this cold, rainy, sunless landscape, which all but blots out the space needle and otherwise beautiful skyline, is extremely appropriate.
There are so many wonderful things about Seattle and the surrounding area. It’s hard to create a concise description of the region. When I was out in the city, on my own, many aspects of life were still hard (because life always is hard – that’s just the way it is) but my memory of the place contains significantly more sunshine.
I’ve taken a few pictures of a little blue box, which lives on a shelf in my living room. In the photos, it is sitting on (and in) my currently flourishing standing garden (cucumbers and brussel sprouts…in case you were wondering). This little blue box was purchased at the Seattle Bumbershoot music festival. It has remained firmly within the Wanted category and has somehow, miraculously, survived numerous cross-country trips. It is also filled with all manner of little items that also fall under the wanted category, most of which make little sense to anyone but me.
While it is pictured in a Minnesota garden, the sunshine and the rain-water covered greenery are far better illustrations of my personal experience with Seattle than the overcast beach walk.
Of course, it is a major metropolitan area, so it has its down side – particularly for dyed-in-the-wool country and wilderness types. But, as far as cities go, it’s among the nicest I’ve seen. It’s where I learned to appreciate coffee, broke into the technology field, and spent quality time discussing writing and literature with fellow writers.
Most people will point to cities as centers of cultural and artistic expression. This is true – to a point. What I have learned about people in the United States is that regions have cultures and those cultures heavily affect the amount of freedom individuals have to express themselves. If a region places particular value on restrictive expression, then the writers and artists continue to exist; they just live more carefully and remain less visible.
This regional perspective directly affects the way that writers interact with one another, and the kinds of material explored in their work. Seattle is an area that provides artists and writers with more freedom than can be found elsewhere in the United States. Finding fellow writers and taking the opportunity to express myself among amazingly accepting and supportive circle of creatives, was a luxury that I fully indulged in. It remains among my most treasured memories.
So, yes, Seattle has a lot of rain – but that never stopped an artist or a writer from getting together with fellow creatives to discuss, work and critique. It did nothing to damping the spirit or the goals of individuals who would have been far less free, individualized, experimental and (frankly) happy, elsewhere.
Perhaps it is for that reason, that I will always remember Seattle as a place of sunshine coming through clouds of softly falling rain.
(c) Adora Myers 2014