Under the Pavement, The Forest

Photo by Nick Graham

I have a forest:It’s not mine, of course, anymore than anything else--my clothes, my home, my words--are mine or anyone’s.It’s a forest.  A small one, towering big-leaf Maples over small stands of Alder and scattered Cedars.  A small stream bed, waiting for the relentless Seattle rains to fill its ravine with flowing life.  Salmonberry is winning in its struggle with Blackberry, Snowberries with their understated leaves standing lightly over the sturdier Oregon Grape.The Elder isn … [Read more...]

Finding Home

View of Mt Rainer from Anderson Island

Today was a fantastic day. I did two unusual things. The first was meeting my fellow Sense of Place author Rhyd Wildermuth for the first time. The second was buying clothes. More on the second in a moment. (Trust me, it's relevant.) Rhyd and I talked about a lot of things, but the thing that stayed on my mind as I left him and set off in search of new clothes was what we discussed about Seattle as a place that we both feel we can call "home".It's not that Seattle is the absolute most … [Read more...]

What I Learned in the Crosswalk

Seattle, Washington (Photo by Brandi Haker, Seattletaco.com)

Streets in America are strange, but one doesn't quite know this until going elsewhere. In other lands, heavily-populated cities existed many centuries before the advent of cars and often before the widespread use of carriages, and thus the streets within those cities are often narrower, the buildings closer together, and the life of the street radically different from what we have come to expect in North America.One develops a strange and rather enlightening sense of what a city can be when … [Read more...]

The Place of Death.

Photo by Anne Burgess

Two weeks ago a friend of mine was feeling unwell. She'd been under a lot of stress. She was prone to anxiety at the best of times, but at that point she was overwhelmed completely. That Sunday she'd collapsed in the park while she walked her dog. She thought that she'd fainted from a panic attack. A neighbour helped her back to her 3rd floor apartment. The next day, she reached out to friends to ask for help with walking her dog and dealing with other practical matters while she tried to get … [Read more...]

The Place Where I’m Not Weird

Sea Creatures.  Art in Beacon Hill Light Rail Station, Seattle, Washington

Once again I find myself on the West Coast of the United States for a short while. There is something about the cultural space from about San Francisco northward and into lower British Columbia that makes me feel "normal". This is the geographic region where, for the most part, I can be completely me without worrying that I'm saying or doing something culturally inappropriate. My tone of voice is understood within various contexts. My tendency to say nice things to people -- including total … [Read more...]

Japan’s Fukushima Disaster and Its Impact on Fish in the Pacific Northwest

A fishing boat in my home port of Auke Bay, Alaska. By Gillfoto, via Wikimedia Commons.

If you have environmentalists as Facebook friends, you may have seen an image and headline making the rounds suggesting that leaking waters from the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan is poisoning the waters of the Pacific Ocean. As a passionate lover of wild Alaskan salmon, that had me worried. I've had moments of mild panic thinking that the bounty of the seas may be gone forever.Salmon are the major fruit of harvest season for me. I was raised subsistence fishing in the waters of … [Read more...]

Tracking Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry trees are in bloom here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The white and pink blossoms signal that spring is here. Their beauty brings a certain lightness to the step. The tradition of picnicking under a blossoming cherry tree brings a certain joy to the heart. The San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival in April is a wonderful celebration of Japanese culture in California as well as the beauty of the flowers and the excitement of spring.But the festival is in April and the trees have … [Read more...]


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