Sunday, February 28, 2010

A month of cool drizzle and new birds

We finished reading Kafka as though he was bursting out of his little corner in Prague by growing old as a sage and strange as an animal. Jennifer turned 30 and felt like she would now grow into her skin. We climbed Mt. Si behind Seattle and still felt like youngsters trying to prove that we're not oldsters. We watched difficult movies with our friend Aaron and talked about them for hours in forgettable places around town. We ate crepes and talked about the future. We celebrated the Year of the Tiger and made awkward conversation. We played scrabble. We paid our taxes. Now we are going to read Virginia Woolf and buy airplane tickets.

I mixed these songs for February.

And these pictures too.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010


Since Seattle is in full spring now, we decided it’s time to start climbing. Mount Si, a little mountain that gives first time mountain climbers 3200 feet to climb, was our first project. It’s only 30 minutes from our back door behind a little town called North Bend where David Lynch filmed
Twin Peaks so it made sense to give it a try. Rumbling and grumbling in shirtsleeves we realized pretty quickly that we’ve lost whatever mountain legs we had.

At the rocky mountain top we sat and ate our big apples from Yakima and tried to ignore the idle chatter of the runaway gym bunnies on the other side of our boulder. There were strange tame birds there who ate whatever we had in hand; a hotshot airplane pilot circled the peak in a sharp bank while likely giggling. To the west flatlands stretch out to Bill Gates’ invented cities of Bellevue and Redmond, and farther still to Seattle. In the deep horizon hard-packed drifts of snow still filled out the shadowy places on the Olympics. Down below, the squared green fields were sprinkled with black dots which represented cows likely sunning themselves in the same hazy light we ourselves enjoyed. To the south, the white mountain named Rainer still stood like a sharp exception to the mundane world of trees, animals and cities.

On our way up I told Jennifer that maybe popular Mt. Si would become our new mountain since it is so available. She said she wasn’t ready to betray her past commitments. When we were at the peak looking south, it was plain that only the tallest of mountains would do.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010


Year of the Tiger

Our pleasures are the greatest known to humans: finding new hardcover books, repeating out the fantastic turns of words we find, listening to our headphones in a coffee shop while casting about secret smiles and occasional notes.

Like survivalists storing up durable goods for the long run, we only buy hardcover books. These are not books for a collection like someone who might buy decorative spoons but the key wit of key names which will be read repeatedly until they seep back out like music and laughter in quiet places. We repeat the lines we find as though we might be violins in the void, hoping that they will cause someone, maybe ourselves, to jump up, ruffling our hair in the brief instant before we bruise our heads on the ceiling. We speak only in the first person plural because we share everything in common: the joy of our trade, singing along stupidly, jocular jostling bellies, languid eyes and other harmless missiles.

Jennifer smiles at the coffee shop, upstairs where we can watch the silver sky, when I begin to gesticulate while caught in the throes of a treatise on Chinese ecology or Uyghur vowel harmony. It’s the writing and the music that makes me gesture, because these two combined make us concentrate and forget a bit about the heavy rudeness of world and the hard work of asserting our spiritual existence. We’re listening to the same music simultaneously on separate headphones so Jen writes me notes about the music on the back of her scientific charts. Mostly: I love this or I love that. I love Jennifer because she sits with me for hours and laughs at the things we like. I’ve known her since she was a beautifully blank-faced girl of 23, seven years later we get along better, more kindred souls than amateur miners of illustrated ideas. We are beginning to break into an elegant trot.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

To Catch Up With Nature

Someone must have poisoned our dreams because we woke up this morning with a need to hike. It could be that the warm sunshine yesterday or a new wool shirt or the way we talked about how much we wanted to go camping made us want to do it. Anyway it seemed unbearable to spend another free day of our lives in our dingy manufactured cave: a big breakfast with coffee and a long hike was just what we needed.

Out on the trail there were lots of signs of old mining shafts, domestic animals and squalling babies. We passed lots of tired little hikers and thought about how someday we will be hiking with our own little family. We talked about sustainable living: how Chinese farmers used to turn old clothes into felt which they used to make shoes.
And we liked the way the old mining shafts and waterways on Cougar Mountain can be part of a man-made wilderness which is catching back up with nature.

Today seems like the first day of spring, but we think it’s just the way the winter is in Seattle. There is so much water and so many bursting clouds that it’s hard for things to die. Anyway, the trees are blooming, showing us newness and beauty.

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