Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Memorials set up for the victims of last year's spectacular car crash off the Duwamish Head sea wall. That explains yesterday's bouquet of flowers as well.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pieces of Summer

Now that summer is gone I have a few leftover photos that I never got around to posting. So I guess you would say this is a "clean up" post.
Blind Runner
I've seen this blind runner being guided by his friend a number of times.

Does anyone out there remember Norm Bright? He was another blind runner who used to stand in the middle of the Green Lake running path yelling for help until someone, anyone, would volunteer to guide him around the lake. Someone always did.

Wild Roses

Although evidence of the changing seasons is everywhere, there is a particular clump of wild roses that acts as my "season barometer." In the winter the plants are nothing more than bare brown sticks. In the spring, after the sticks sprout bright green foliage, I celebrate the unfolding of the bright pink flowers. Slowly, as the summer passes, the petals fall away leaving huge, red rose hips. And the seasonal cycle starts again.

Every time I walk by that clump of flowers I am reminded of the wild roses of Martha's Vineyard that I used to pass while I bicycled along the Atlantic shore. I was 16 years old then and the world made sense.

Wild Ninja
One morning I spotted this Ninja star lying in the sand. It was only about two inches across and made of cardboard. It couldn't have hurt anyone. But I found it during the time when Alki Beach was having all that supposed gang activity during the long summer evenings.

During one week this summer my son was working in Magnolia and I had to forego my morning Alki Beach walks and drive him to his job. It was a great opportunity for me to walk the dog in Discovery Park. Years ago when my husband and I first moved to Seattle, we rented a house in Magnolia just a few blocks from the Park. I don't get over there often anymore and it was nice to get back. I hiked along the cliffs and out to the Lighthouse where I sat on a rock for a while - one of my favorite activities.

The beach was great but I was rather disappointed at the state of the outbuildings. At one time they had been occupied and well maintained with fresh paint. Presently, they appear abandoned and in disrepair. Truly, it was disheartening for me to wonder about a country that now seems to take no pride in the state of its commons. Obviously our priorities are elsewhere and we just aren't willing to put the effort into keeping up what we once cared about. Sure enough, as I was standing there in disappointment, one of the doors fell off its hinges with a bang. You can see the door lying on the ground in the second photograph. It was as if the building was actually talking to me saying, "Do something, will you?" I guess these buildings are so far out of the public eye that the people making these decisions figure no one notices or cares. Well, I do.

The Painting Twins
On my way out of the park I ran into these two men who had set up their painting easels. Being a painter myself, I couldn't just walk by them without a conversation. Turns out they were painting landscapes of Puget Sound with Alki Beach in the distance. So I asked them, "Where are you from?" And their answer was, "West Seattle." I said, "I live in Alki." "So do we," they replied. We had a good laugh. Three artists from Alki randomly meeting across Elliott Bay in Discovery Park. My Magnolia hiking trip had an Alki connection after all.

Bird With a View
Sometimes I think it would be great to live life as a bird. Well, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, maybe there is still a chance for me.

More Mystery Flowers
I found these flowers left on a spot near Duwamish Head this morning.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shades of Gray

It's really stating the obvious that most of us in Seattle become sensitized to the many nuances of the color gray - whether we are artists or not. I'm always inspired by the varieties of gray I notice when I walk the beach on a cloudy Sunday morning in September.

A view of the beach just about 7am as I started my walk. Although the fall and winter can be dreary, there are often spectacular natural views early in the morning which are created courtesy of the distant edges of the cloud cover. The gaps of clear sky visible off toward the Cascades or Olympic Mountains allow the sun to shoot across the horizon, bouncing off anything in its path. (This is why artist Mike Burns would get up at 4:00 am during the summer months to capture images for his paintings.)
And if the edges of the cloud cover close up, there is also the possibility of "sky holes." This morning the sun made a direct hit on one of them.

I got to thinking about why the tide seemed especially low just about the time I rounded Duwamish Head on my way back to Alki. (Sure enough my tide table said low tide was at 8:44 this morning.)

One clue might be that the Autumnal Equinox was at 2:51 this morning.(Autumnal Equinox Info) So, summer is officially over. Apparently one man hasn't gotten the message because I spotted him at 8:30 am in his shorts actually wading in one of the tide pools. Brrrrr........

I started wondering if the equinoxes really have any impact on the tides since they only mark the point where the sun crosses the equator. Since I really don't know much about this tide business, I did a bit of online investigation.

I found a hint from this website: tide info which states: "During the time of the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox, around March 21 and September 23, when the Sun crosses the equator, very high tides will occur. These high tides will occur during either the Full or New Moon nearest to the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox."

Hmmmmmmmm, which means I needed to find out when the next full moon is. See Moon Info. Apparently the closest full moon will occur this Friday night. Sure enough, according to my tide table we will see a 12 foot high tide on Friday evening at 6:17 pm.

Makes sense to me, I guess, but the truth is that I really don't know what I am talking about here. Most of my nature knowledge is experiential. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. And I notice that.
Not everything around here is idyllic. I passed one gentleman, still asleep, who appeared to have spent the night on a park bench using a knapsack as a pillow. Another was eating his breakfast out of a garbage can. Shades of gray to be sure.............

The title of this gray painting is "Don't Hold Your Breath." For many reasons. It will be on display at the Alexis Hotel from October through December.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Glad She's Back

"With the faith and courage of
their forefathers who made
possible the freedom of these
United States


dedicate this copy of
the Statue of Liberty as a pledge
of everlasting fidelity and loyalty."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Alki Beach Walking Club

I have started walking earlier in the morning and am being paced by a few other regulars who have walked the beach for years. You can barely see the Bald Eagle sitting on top of the light pole.

At one time this morning we had a total of ten walkers in our group! We have started joking that we are members of the Alki Beach Walking Club. It's sort of a defensive move. A number of the walkers enjoy coffee and chit chat after the walk. At one point last week they were "told" to move by another local social group which had decided that they "owned" those particular tables. Notice that I am intentionally leaving out lots and lots of details. So, the suggestion was made that maybe we needed to be an offical "club" in order to get tables for coffee time.

In actuality of course, anybody who walks Alki is a member of the club. We're all in this together.