Tag Archives: Atlanta

Walking in the World

White Point sign


There are people in our lives who have an influence they’d never know. My parents instilled a love for Cape Cod that we find in many ways living here on San Juan Island in Washington. The friend in California who suggested a year or so ago that I rein in this blog to a remodeling theme: remodeling a house, remodeling a life—the same thing, in my book. Our daughter, now living in Argentina, who upon visiting before her departure grew my daily walk by a beautiful mile or two. And in sending me a video of the works of sculptor Anthony Howe on neighboring Orcas Island, my cousin in Atlanta reminding me to stay with art every day. And to try not to stray.

They are all part and parcel of who I am, why I’m here, and how I see it.

“Walking the loop” began as a tradition while living on upper Queen Anne in Seattle and continues out here today. That first loop took me around the perimeter of the hill, overlooking the Space Needle and downtown Seattle, Lake Union, and Puget Sound. Today’s loop takes me alongside Westcott Bay, and through the red, white and blue nostalgic quality of Roche Harbor Resort where everyone looks good in the light. Finally, the road meanders through an old growth forest of cedar, fir, and pine where everything grows dark and green, and back to my home on the bay.

Where the road dips down to the shoreline I experience what I call a Cape Cod moment, framed by flatlands, grasses, marshes, and horizon. In the course of this walk I may pass only one or two cars on the road, a few more in summer, on an island where every driver waves.

This is the walk my daughter grew, taking it out on a point to new terrain, the posh end of White Point Road. Here I pass tennis courts where nobody’s playing, a pond with a dock establishing someone’s swimming hole, and a private golf course back in there somewhere, for I’ve seen it from the water. Horse fencing and regally high pampas grasses standing like sentry guide the way. Crushed white shells underfoot line the one-lane road at sea level. It’s as private as private can be, except for me, out on this point.

Here I gape at houses, something that seems to be my lot in life: the desire to see myself in other spaces, other places. On walks I finish unfinished houses in my mind, or tear them down and start again. As anyone in the field knows, design is never done. When the bones are good, I may mentally repaint it, or envision it clad in cedar shingles, dark, red, natural or a weathered gray.

At home, the short video on the kinetic sculpture of Anthony Howe awaits me. It’s mesmerizing. How did my cousin know to send this now? I needed it. Isn’t art what ultimately pulls us through? All the arts, always. And art as balm, particularly in troubling times. Which is where we are today.

“After reading the newspaper on Sunday, I sit quietly and simply look at art books.” Michael Graves


Filed under art, design, remodeling, walking

Over Our Heads

Sometimes you just have to do something that is outside your comfort zone. “Do one thing a day that scares you” is written all over the Lululemon bags. I don’t know about you, but I always listen to my tote.

When my friend, Lynn, and I found that each of our submissions had been accepted for publication in “Minerva Rising,” a new literary journal for women, we thought, this is great. We’d show it to our families, mention it in our bio’s, and then it would retire to our shelves…. Or, we could throw a party! A perfect excuse in this case, as it’s the debut edition. And so, The Seattle Launch of Minerva Rising was born.

I’ve lost track of time, that was a few weeks back. Shortly after releasing electronic invitations to all the local literary illuminati we could think of, we lost control of it. With four or five files where there should have been one, we could never be certain of the count. (I knew I preferred paper invitations).

A few years ago on an island off Seattle, an ancient Japanese woman named Sally lived next door to me. Sally and I saw a lot of each other because both of us were always out, weather permitting, to garden, weed, clean up, and in the course of it, exchange conversation and plants. Sally owned a block-long warehouse in downtown Seattle, worth millions in real estate alone.  She and her husband had built up a wholesale floral business, after what I can only imagine may have been a period in internment. (She never mentioned that). Her husband passed away, and well into her nineties or hundreds Sally was retired and their daughter ran the business, but every now and then Sally insisted on going to the office “to be sure the money was flowing in the right direction.” I loved that line.

Well, Lynn and I may have lost count with our event, but acceptances have trickled in daily, assuring us everything was flowing in the right direction. The day before the event we will round up fresh flowers from Pikes Market (most likely from Sally’s warehouse), and arrange them. Lynn’s son will man the door, my husband will play bartender, and the Northwest Girlchoir will make an appearance at the event and sing a few songs. We will dim the lights, light candles, and pump in soft music when the girls aren’t singing. It will be a reunion of sorts among Goddard MFA alum and friends. We will treat our guests to readings, always our choice for entertainment at MFA residencies. And from our coast and our fair city, we will help, I hope, launch this new literary journal for women.

The editors are flying in from Atlanta, Georgia and Portland, Maine. They will stay at our house and we will drive them around town like dignitaries. The beds are made, steps are swept, and yesterday I added purple pansies to my window box. (Purple being the color of “Minerva Rising Literary Journal”). Afterall, it isn’t everyday one’s friends start a new publication. And it isn’t every day you get published in one. Soon we will pass the mark where we’ve done all that we can anticipate, and there will be nothing more to do but celebrate.



Filed under electronic invitations