I took my first trip since I was in Paris (2017?) last month. My son moved to Seattle right before we went into lockdown and I hadn’t seen him in since February 2020. Not only did I miss him, but I’ve never been to Seattle.
Seattle greeted me with her usual fanfare. A rainstorm pummelled the roads as we made our way out of the airport but it was nice to see my son and have a change of scenery (not that I could see much of it at that moment).
There were some sights I wanted to see but I put very little pressure or expectations on this trip. Work has been total chaos and I had a week to sleep in, take naps, wander around the city and eat some of the most delicious food – all with my son.
Other than the first two days, the weather was gorgeous. Austin was having 90 degree heat and Seattle was a cool 60 degrees and sunny. We went to the Space Needle, Pikes Market, Museum of Pop Culture and the Seattle Art Museum. We both agreed that the Seattle Art Museum did a wonderful job of curating it’s exhibits and telling a story about the art and artists. The Museum of Pop Culture could learn a thing or two from them as they missed an opportunity to really engage the viewer with the exhibits. The only exception to that was the Disney costume exhibit. It told a story, but then again, we are dealing with a master storyteller here, aren’t we?
My favorite museum, without a doubt, was the Dale Chihuly Museum. I love art glass and he is the master. I was inspired by the colors, patterns and organic shapes.
My son had to work during the day so I did a lot of wondering around, trolling bookstores and journaling in coffee shops. Being in this alternative environment, relaxed and free from worries about work and life in general, I gave a lot of thought about what was important to me and what I hoped to do once I got back.
I spent a morning on my own in Pike’s Market. My son had gifted me a hank of hand-dyed yarn from a local dyer but I wanted to go back and check out the artisan’s market. I’ve made it a tradition on my travels to buy jewelry as my “souvenir”. My collection is growing nicely and when I wear a piece, it always brings up memories. I look for handmade pieces not only because I want something original, but I want to support local businesses. I came home with some wonderful reminders of my trip with a ring and 2 pairs of earrings.
The main thing we did in Seattle was eat. It’s a city with wonderful cuisine. A huge part of its restaurant scene is devoted to local, sustainably sourced products. I didn’t see a whole lot of fast or chain food restaurants, which I though was nice. My son and I both love to cook and we talked a lot about food. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie but I do want to eat delicious and nutritious foods. But being single I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut, eating the same things. The trip has sent me down a road of exploration – not just of new flavors but of our whole relationship to food – growing, harvesting, preserving, cooking it (I would have made a good farmer’s wife) but also how it is so important to community. We are so removed from the source of our food, corporations have bastardized the whole food production system (factory farming) to the detriment of our land, animals, its employees, the consumer and the food itself in the name of profit and we are all paying the price. I’m not going to preach. I’m going to do what I feel is right and let others make a, hopefully informed, decision for themselves.
In fact, the whole trip not only inspired me to spend a lot of money on books about food and cooking (The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flynn for example), but it also reaffirmed my desire to support small businesses, buy used (the Seattle Goodwill had a cool vibe) and avoid giving any more of my money to selfish, asshole billionaires. I didn’t give them a lot to begin with and buying elsewhere isn’t going to make a dent in their pocketbook. However, when I support local entrepreneurs, my business does make a difference. Like that intrepid beachcomber who tossed stranded starfish back into the water one at a time, I can’t change the whole world, but I can make a difference in my little corner of the world. And if we all tried to do that, what a better world this would be.
That is the effect Seattle had on me.