Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jingle Jangle Morning

I wake up to foghorns and seagulls flying by my window. I head out and walk to the market at Pike Place to get breakfast. There are too many great looking choices for breakfast so I buy a zucchini muffin from a little shop to eat while I walk around and decide. The women at the flower stands are whipping together their beautiful colorful arrangements and an old guy with a guitar has set up on the corner and is singing Mr. Tambourine Man so I smile give him his first tip of the day. I want to take a picture of the people making dumplings in the Chinese bakery so I buy and almond cookie and snap a picture but it doesn’t turn out. The guys at the place where they throw the fish are already getting a crowd and they have some of the biggest salmon I’ve ever seen waiting beside the store to be put out. I make one last pass through and buy a croissant from a bakery in a wall and some raspberry juice from a stand next to the Chinese bakery and my breakfast is complete.
I then walk down the road to the Olympic sculpture park. It’s home to the sculpture of the giant typewriter eraser, which I thought was on loan to the Nasher in Durham; perhaps there’s more than one? I’m once again struck by a minimalist piece of five wavy rusting pockets embedded in fine gravel. They feel to me like a ship breaking yard and a bamboo thicket, the texture and color of the rust complemented by the gravel.
Before I leave town I stop by my favorite spot in the whole city; the Japanese Garden in the Arboretum. The garden is full of plants that grow naturally in the area set into a flat area around the lake and climbing onto a hillside. 
Koi swim in the pond at the center that is fed by a number of artificial streams so that everywhere you go in the garden you can hear the trickling of water over rocks. They sell the proper food for the koi at the entrance so that people who want to feed the fish can do so while keeping them healthy. There are workers all around pruning the trees and taking care of the grounds. 
What I like so much about this garden compared to others like it is that it seems to be a true western version of a Japanese tea garden, which I think is the best that you can strive for outside of Japan. There are the little stone lanterns and the koi and the style of the landscaping but no massive pagodas or sushi bars like they have at the one in San Francisco that give it a cheesy feel. This is simply a garden inspired by Japanese gardens, designed to let you appreciate the local plant life in a different way. After walking through a few more times I feel content with my time in Seattle and I start the long drive towards the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.

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