Tag Archives: culture

52 WoLP #22: 50 Shades of Green

This time of year, the color green just knocks me out. You might look at Lincoln Park and think, wow, lotsa green. But there are so many greens, if you really look. One of my favorite places to walk this time of year is the middle path down to the Colman Pool–look up halfway down, you’ll be amazed at the canopy and the dappled light.

So green. Just when you think you know what color green is, you get about a zillion other layers and versions up close and personal. From blue to purple to yellow to reddish green, it’s all in Lincoln Park right now. Hang out for minute, you won’t be disappointed.

52WoLP is a year long fascination with the Gem of West Seattle, Lincoln Park. Enjoy!

52 WoLP #21: Love your local naturalists

Lincoln Park naturalists

Love your naturalists–they’re here for us in the park today!

Today, Saturday, there are two naturalists present in the park–not at the beach for the low tides, but the park.  It’s a very nice surprise, stop if you get a chance; they’re at the top of the trail down to Colman Pool, a gorgeous trail I think of as the The Cathedral because of the soaring canopy of trees with dappled light filtering down the hillside.

They coordinate with the Parks dept. and set up visitor tables in several parks throughout the summer.  Today they have their spotting scope set to the eagles, but they’ve got a lot of information (including specimens, sort of gross/fascinating) about big and small birds that live in the park.  Anyway, I love seeing ranger type uniforms in the park, check it out, take your kids.  Also!  OMG, the songbirds in the park right now are unbelievably active, the understory is hopping with proud parents and music fills the air.  It’s a really superb day to wander through Lincoln Park.52 WoLP is a year long diary of a love affair with Lincoln Park.  Enjoy!

52WoLP #20: Opening Day!!!

For lots of swimmers in West Seattle and beyond, today is the first day of Swimming Season at the Colman Pool.  The Colman Pool, a saltwater outdoor pool, first opened in 1941, replacing a man-made tide filled swimming hole that  had been popular since the 20s. The Colman Pool, made possible by a very generous donation by the Colman family, has long been a favorite spot for swimmers, sunbathers and families all summer long. Here are a couple of snaps, then and now.

Enjoy!  52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long observation of the many aspects of Lincoln Park, the gem of West Seattle.

52WoLP #18: Sometimes rules suck, but dogs will be dogs

Sometimes rules suck, right?  And sometimes you just want to do what you want to do, regardless of others. But we live in a big city, with more people and more dogs all the time.  Like my Dad said when I threw a candy wrapper on the ground, what if everyone did that?

It’s a very valid question.

The dog rules are there because we live in a city with a lot of other people and because this park has wild and cultivated areas–areas we pay tax money to protect.

There’s the pick-up-after-your-dog rule, and people seem pretty much okay with that one.  Then there’s the no-off-leash-dogs thing, and the majority of dog walkers seem okay with that one.  After all, it’s not an off-leash park, it’s an everyone + wildlife park.  And then there’s the no-dogs-allowed part and I gotta say, this last one gets almost no attention at all.  There really are–no really— parts in the park where dogs aren’t allowed at all: the beach and the playfields.

These rules that for some impinge on the god-given rights of dogs to be dogs really upset some people.  A lot.  I sort of understand.  You come home from work, the dog is crazy to run…what are you going to do?

Here’s the deal behind the rules: there are way more dogs and people using the park than ever before.  Way more.  We share the beach with creatures that need it for nesting and life itself.  Dogs will always be dogs on the beach and will always have a hard time resisting the urge to go after that wildlife.  (full disclosure: I like dogs. A lot.)

The other one, playfields: the ballfields are pretty carefully maintained and protected for a specific purpose: ball games.  Dogs running, chasing, digging, and doing the things dogs do (pun intended) flies in the face of the tax-money you are paying to maintain that field.  Do us all a favor and keep your dogs off the playfields.

The park really and truly is a space we all share.  Runners and walkers who frequently prove an irresistible target for even the sweetest dogs; birds and creatures who provide the feeling of getting-away-from-it-all and sing those gorgeous songs that lift our hearts–they make their nests in those bushes where some people throw balls for their dogs to chase;  baby seals and ducks and grebes who need the habitat our beautiful beaches provide.

We all share this park.  There are dozens of offleash parks in the city.  Be a citizen dog-owner, do the right thing, we will all love you for it.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long exploration and adoration of the loveliest gem of West Seattle.  Enjoy!

52WoLP #17: the first ever Celebrate LP & our keep-you-guessing weather

Well, last saturday at this time, the overnight temps were in the upper 30s and the day never cracked 50. Chilly winds, grey skies, threatening clouds all conspired to reduce the crowds to only the toughest souls at our first ever Celebrate Lincoln Park.

Enjoy!

52WoLP is a year long exploration of and fascination with all things Lincoln Park, West Seattle.

This saturday, a mere 7 days later, windows and doors will be propped open, temps will be 25 degrees or more higher, and we’ll all be out in droves.

But the show went on, and it was pretty cool.  We even had Park Rangers there in full regalia and I sort of felt like we were at a campground at some National Park, I loved it!

The Alliance for Lincoln Park Nature, ALPN, was there with nature and bird walks, art-in-the park table for water color sketching and writing.  We had a lot of fun with both the sketching and the writing–fast writing exercises on various park-related prompts, and there’s just nothing like sketching to see where you are.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Here are a coupla pics:

52 WoLP #13: Curvy is better than straight

It’s been rainy, and it’s muddy, but that also means water in the Lincoln Park stream, and water in the stream means runoff for the waterfall.  What waterfall?

Sometimes, since a lot of people visit LP in the summer, they don’t get to see the waterfall in action. Some don’t even know it’s a waterfall, or that there’s a stream.  But there is, it goes through the park and ends up at the beach.  Here’s a map, and the back-story of the falls right after:

Here's a sketchy map of LP and the stream

Here’s a sketchy map of LP and the stream

The back story: back when the WPA was doing all kinds of things in LP, they made the excellent steps and stairways from the beach to the park, except one of those walkways crossed a runoff zone from the stream.  No problem, they’d just turn that runoff zone into a pretty waterfall and direct it under the walkway:

The original went cascading pretty much straight down the hillside

The original went cascading pretty much straight down the hillside

If you’ve ever seen the waterfall at full throttle in the winter, the original plan which had the stream running nearly straight down into a catch didn’t have a chance–a lot of water comes down during the rains and anyway, nature doesn’t play nice with straight lines, so either by its own design, or with the help of a few folks along the way, the waterfall achieved a nice curvy and cantilevered path with a better runway…although it still runs over the path in big rains, and makes a beautiful sound as it cascades down the incline.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long project exploring this West Seattle Gem. Enjoy!!

 

52WoLP: week #9 and Animal Presence

I can’t help it. I’m still enveloped in the pleasure of swimming with green sea turtles in Hawaii for the past two weeks, and am not yet finished replaying the sensation over in my imagination.  Those great bodies moving so gracefully through blue green water, coming up for a gulp of air and a look at the odd but apparently harmless creature swimming alongside–I will not soon forget the glint in the turtle’s calm, accepting eye.

What does this have to do with Lincoln Park, you might ask. Well,  I was reminded of a post on the subject of animal presence by the eloquent Trileigh Tucker, intimate friend of Lincoln Park and all of nature. Her post is this week’s contemplation of LP, because it’s an awesome post, and because we are heading into a period of intense animal presence in and around the park.

How rare it is for us humans to be encountered in the wild by an animal who seems without fear of us, and even more powerfully, to whom we are of calm interest. To see ourselves in their eyes, to be recognized in some way as having a presence, perhaps even being of a kindred nature, perhaps, ultimately, with personhood — such an experience reminds us who we are….Some deep part of us yearns for this recognition.

RCK

Personally, I wait each year for the ruby crowned kinglets–skittish little lovelies with beautiful songs.  Yesterday I noted on WSB Facebook that a neighbor had seen a coyote on the perimeter of the park three days in a row, a seasonal presence to watch for. There are owls, bald eagles, wrens, tree creepers like nuthatches and browns, song sparrows and squirrels, of course. We can watch them, and there’s a sense that they might enjoy watching us.

May you be in the presence of the animals that make their home in LP; coexisting with them is deeply, deeply soothing to the soul.  Thanks Trileigh!

Video

52WoLP, week 7: A most beautiful thing

This week in 52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, we meet Sky Darwin, a local artist you might see if you’re very lucky along the shores of the Salish Sea in Lincoln Park. He does beautiful things with driftwood. Beautiful. His sculptural works made me think of mandalas, because surely the delicately balanced pieces he was fine tuning would be washed away with the next high tide. And that, of course, only added to the pleasure of his creations. Take a gander:

Sky studied at Cornish and has been working on these all-too-brief sculptural installations since Sept. 2012. He has a background in dance, music and design–all in evidence here. He took videos of the finished product but as yet they’re not up on vimeo or youtube. On the other hand, they are up on his facebook page so maybe look him up–the vids are great because you can hear kids marveling at the pieces moving gently in the sunset breeze.

These pieces were beautiful. And as predicted, I cruised by the spot where they were a day or so later, and they were gone. Beauty is fleeting.

Thanks Sky!

Addendum 3/4/13: Sky now has an official Facebook page–https//:www.facebook.m/ShiftwoodSculpture check it out, he put more pictures and videos there, and will keep it fresh with new stuff for our pure, unadulterated enjoyment. Live aloha!

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park (#3): Mystery Solved

Ok, so this is an obscure mystery, but still….When I was looking through the Seattle gov photo archives for stuff on Lincoln Park, I kept coming across a pix of a lily pond that was supposedly located in LP.  Except it had houses right behind it and it didn’t look like any part of LP I’d seen. Add to that the fact that Broadway Park on Cap Hill was called Lincoln Park before being renamed in 1922 and I figured: those lily pond pictures are from the other park, case closed.

the houses in the back, the clear space? mystery pond! (1936)

the houses in the back, the clear space? mystery pond! (1936)

But recently, friend, fellow artist, and West Seattle native Kirsten Wilhelm happened to mention the old lily pond in Lincoln Park–how she used to love it as a kid.  What?!  Where is this thing!  Well, it’s at the northern edge of the park, right where there’s this odd clump of bamboo…look behind the bamboo, in the bramble and you’ll see the remains of the lily pad pond.  The boulders and landscaping are still visible, but it’s very much overgrown from its earlier incarnation…which is ok, imo, since a lily pond in the piney-cedary woods of our beloved LP is kind of a stretch.  But a lovely idea anyway.  Please let me know if you have faves or special tidbits about LP you’d like to share–cuz we all wanna know!

Zipline in Lincoln Park? Thanks for the offer, but, uh…No Thanks.

There is a proposal to install a Zipline and ropes course amusement area in Lincoln Park (you can learn more about it here on WSB, Tracy’s article garnered more comments than any in the history of the blog).  There is a wave of activism against this proposal and this coming week will include a presentation by the offending developers to the Fauntleroy Community Association Tuesday at 7pm, Fauntleroy Hall.  More informal meetings of outraged west seattleites are happening throughout the week.

Lincoln Park in West Seattle is a pristine old growth forest in an urban setting, a unique gem on the Salish Sea

There are two Facebook Groups you can join, just search on Zipline Lincoln Park or anything like that and you’ll find them.

There are a few blogs springing up in an effort to get the word out, such as this great one.

Here are a few things I’m thinking about regarding the numbskull idea:

–Go Ape says the park will handle *only* 14 riders per hour.  14.  That’s likely 20-30 more cars at any given point during the day in the parking lot, if you consider the inevitable wait lines for riders.  There is talk that this will necessitate a new parking lot in the park.

–No trees will be harmed in the process of building and maintaining the park, the developers say.  It only impacts the tree tops.  THE TREE TOPS, where our eagles, hawks, owls, herons and other large birds roost and hang out.  Loss of predator birds will result in a burgeoning rat infestation, which will be helped along vigorously by the waste and trash produced by the concession stands.

–Traffic along Fauntleroy—do we really need to discuss this?  Sometimes the ferry lines stretch back 4 or 5 miles.

–No alternative revenue ideas to help defray the costs of maintaining the park have been investigated or attempted.

There are many communities that have successfully pushed back on these development plans and specifically against Go Ape.  A few are:

Napa Valley
Monterey County
Woodinville WA

Let’s all just say No.

Better Off: one year, two people, zero watts

I just finished reading Better Off by Eric Brende who, a decade ago as part of a graduate project, went from MIT to OTG (off-the-grid) for 18 months with his wife, and amidst it all, new baby.

The book is based on his journals from that 18 month period and has a ton of really interesting anecdotes and observations.  Bottom line: he really never came back to the machine-and-technology world.  He didn’t stay in the zero-watt Mennonite community he joined for the project, but he and his family learned they quite liked a life with very little technology and have over the years built a lifestyle that suits them really well.

The end of the book has an epilogue that is markedly different in tone from the rest of the book in that it takes a sober look at his conclusions–no folksy tales about how and who and why and when in the country. A very stripped down appraisal of the True Cost of how we live–and the True Cost is high, make no mistake.

Interestingly, he gives a nod to the internet he uses at the library and how it allows him to reach a larger audience for trades, barters and such.

It’s worth the read.

In Praise of Mary Oliver

We  heard poet Mary Oliver read from her works at Benaroya Hall here in Seattle last night.  The collection of poems she read spanned her entire oeuvre–an excellent selection.  She read for an hour; it was such a delight to hear her work read in her own voice.  Also a delight was her sense of humor, her humble good grace, her great heart.

Her relationship with the natural world, with the beauty and gift of nature itself, made me feel utterly sane.  I’m not sure what I mean by that, just that I felt at ease and sane by the end of the reading.  Perhaps her call to presence when breathing the sweet air of the morning, or hearing an owl at night, made me feel that there is great sanity in loving the loveliness of this planet we share.  That all the flat screen tvs and  ipods in the world can’t  compete with the  feel of the sun on your skin on a summer day.

Yes, I think that might be it.

Plastic Disturbia

The other day I was paddle boarding around the bay in West Seattle. At this time of year, we have extreme low and high tides, and the slack tide in between tends to be the collection point for a lot of garbage in the water. Even as the day was lovely, the paddling exquisite, I kept coming across a disturbing pattern: big globs of muck that were built out a tangled mess of fishing line, 6-pack ring, seaweed, plastic bags, algae, bungee cords, dead fish, feathers, plastic bottles, unidentified gunk and plastic food containers. The common ingredient: plastic. And there were a lot of these little floating islands.

plastic in our oceans

These congealed half-bio-half-plastic masses are very quickly becoming ubiquitous in our oceans. If the only damage were that of the scenery, I could almost but not quite shrug it off.

The damage is much, much worse. In fact, you could say that what I was seeing off Lincoln Park was just the barest tip of an iceberg.

Sierra Magazine has an article this month entitled “Message in a Bottle” and it’s worth a few minutes to read. Gird yourself, you may not be prepared for the story:

  • There is an area off the coast of Japan known as The Garbage Patch, three times the size of Texas and a seeming doldrums where the world’s plastics collect and degrade.
  • Don’t kid yourself: plastic doesn’t ever entirely degrade like things in the organic world. Plastic simply breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. Those pieces at some point become indistinguishable from krill and other food sources in the ocean
  • This plastic broth is making its way into the food chain; the bellies of baby fish are gorged with the stuff and yet they die of starvation. Adult birds and fish are ingesting it. It’s real, it’s happening.
  • One of the main culprits is a thing called plastic nurdles--manufactured plastic molded into small nuggets for easy shipment to manufacturing plants all around the world to make things like that handy blue plastic water bottle, that shovel and bucket your kids play with at the beach, the parts in your car, the caps on your soda, the packing in that new TV (not to mention the TV itself), the plastic wrapper on the grapes you brought to the picnic, the cap on your latte-to-go, your flip-flops, and that bobble-head toy you got at the ballpark. The massive ships carrying these nurdles sometimes lose their cargo, sometimes they accidentally dump large quantities of the stuff, sometimes it just gets loose.

The thing I can’t get out of my head, the thing that haunts me is how much plastic there is. We really don’t even think about plastic as plastic anymore, we think of it as normal. Diamonds may not be forever, after all they are organic structures, but plastic really IS forever. Where will all of this stuff go, this stuff that really IS forever?

In my own little life, we have upped our efforts to decrease the amount of plastic in our lives, but it’s an uphill battle. We reuse our plastic bags and buy in bulk as much as possible, we forego the plastic cap on the latte, we avoid the over-architected containers.

And we have to content ourselves with that. It’s not enough, but it’s something we can do.

The clean-up on this mess will be monstrous; if we started today, we could have 100% employment for decades. The one upside to this is it’s undeniable: the massive three-times-the-size-of-Texas floating islands of garbage are real. You could go there today and be blown away by the iceberg-depth and island-breadth of the mess.

plastic ocean 2

Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy (redux, since there are authority issues running rampant out there)

If you weren’t able to see this before, due to YouTube authority issues, please check it out now–it’s freakin High-Larious.  And Thank You ArnoldDigital for the use of the clip!

Our Neighborhood Ice Cream Shop and Deli

The Husky Deli in West Seattle is local delight.  In the summer, the line for the ice cream counter stretches out the door; you can see kids twirling around on the old-fashioned soda counter stools–you know the kind, round, twirlable–happily licking the drips from their cones and trying to keep up with the melting concoction.

I stopped by there yesterday to get myself a pint of their original Husky Flake ice cream to take home, and the guy who helped me looked a tad older than the usual summer help they get.  I assumed he was part of the familly who founded the West Seattle landmark that the deli is.

Looking around, I noticed some photos up on the west wall that I hadn’t noticed before–they looked to span about 80 years.  I asked him who all the guys were, and he just beamed: “The one to the right of the clock was my Dad. Next to him is my grandfather who founded the deli. The other side of the clock are my uncles and they didn’t do much.”

Then he said, “My grandfather founded this in 1932.”  I marvelled at the timing of this, considering the whole world was in a depression at that point–tough time to be opening an ice cream shop.  I said as much to they guy as he was packing in a generous amount of Husky Flake into the pint container (happy me!).

He said, “yeah, but you know, they got a grant to make ice cream cones that they delivered to the local schools, so they were busy every single day making those ice cream cones and delivering them.”

I asked if that was part of a PWA grant and he nodded, “yeah, the kids were happy, my grandfather was happy–worked all day and night, but happy.”

Husky Deli is still thriving to this day, more than 70 years later.  It’s a strong part of our entire community, and a local gathering place.  It was born in the midst of a crisis but hung on with government help.

That’s small business and government at its very finest. I cannot think of a better example of a win/win situation.

Here’s my question: Can you imagine our current government having the leadership and vision to fund a massive PWA in this day and age?  No, it’s simply out of the question.  The less taxes/small government people who insist they are for the small business man and woman would jettison the idea before it ever saw light of day.  That’s the party of fear, not progress.  The party of small thoughts, not big dreams.

And we would all be the poorer for that approach, because the time is perfect for a massive mobilization of grit and ingenuity focused on the environment and energy challenges.