These are scans of slides I photographed on two trips in the summer of 1993. The first was to a bridge on the Snoqualmie River where myself and three friends scaled and jumped from the top in what can only be explained as temporary insanity. My friend, who you see here leaping from the top, was a competitive diver and was always having us climb bridges, freeway overpasses, boat house roofs, rocky cliffs, and whatever else hung above deep enough water to dive into. The second trip was a hike up into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to swim in beautiful, crystal blue water that was colder than a brass brassiere on the shady side of an iceberg.
On Saturday I floated down the Yakima River with a friend and his brother. Katlin and I headed to Cle Elum early on Saturday morning to meet up, and to stock up on snacks and drinks. The float took close to four hours and we saw both sun and thunderstorms, and always mosquitoes. The temperature was perfect the whole time. I floated in a an inflatable kayak and I wouldn’t want to have done it in do it injust an inner tube. The Yakima has world class rainbow trout fishing and I brought my rod and reel and managed to catch a little guy on my second cast of the day. See more photos from the day here or by clicking on one of the shots below.
I saw this wacky set-up at Golden Gardens today. I believe it belonged to an elder group of ladies who were having a beach day under careful watch of their nursing home caregiver. Regardless I admire someone who plans on getting so entrenched at the beach that they have to bring a Persian rug, twin end tables, and a stuffed zebra wearing a hat. Ballard is an amazing place and where downtown feels like an alt-country Universal Studios, the Shilshole Marina and Golden Gardens Beach crowd at noon on a Wednesday was a real mixed bag. Very close to this I saw maybe forty parents watching their forty plus children playing in a creek runoff into Puget Sound that was clearly marked as dangerous to one’s health. Everyone was having a really great time.
These photographs are from a four night backpacking trip in the North Cascades in August of 1993 and a ten-day trip with my Dad in the Sierra Nevadas the following August. They are scans of prints made after each of the trips.
So far this summer I’ve been spending most of my time catching up on my reading, playing softball, and exploring the city on a series of long walks. These are some photographs from the walks with more at this link to my Flickr page.
6.5 miles took me from Capitol Hill to Fremont. I stopped at Bruce Lee’s grave site in Lakeview Park, adjacent to Volunteer Park, and then at Gasworks after walking across the University Bridge and along Lake Union.
The next long walk was 8.6 miles to Alki Beach. Katlin joined me for this one, with the promise of a beer and burritos at the end of it. We started downtown and then headed south along the waterfront, and then on to the Elliot Bay Trail which takes pedestrians underneath the West Seattle Bridge and around to Alki Beach. We gorged ourselves on burritos and then waddled back to the catch the water taxi across Elliot Bay back to downtown Seattle.
The third long walk was 7.3 miles to the Ballard Locks. This time of the year the annual sockeye salmon run occurs and thousands of sockeye come in from Puget Sound into Lake Union and Washington via the fish ladders at the Ballard Locks. There were tons of the 3-5 lbs fish on view, making this fisherman giddy for the salmon fishing I’ll inevitably get into later this summer. I find the salmon fascinating animals. They might be my favorite animal of all. Their annual returning to spawn and die in the same creeks where they were born never fails to impress me, and I make a point every November of sharing it with my students during a short field trip to Ballard’s Carkeek Park to witness the Coho and silver salmon run there.
I picked up Stoner after reading a summer reading book list put together by Tom Hanks in Time Magazine. I had started it two years ago and wasn’t in the right place to finish it at the time. I went back a couple of weeks ago and made it my first completed novel for the summer. It’s a story about a farm boy who goes off to college to study agricultural science, only to become smitten with classic literature in his required, freshman English course. This leads to hard years working to pay for his boarding and education and results in a long life as a tenured, under appreciated professor at the very college where he began. The novel covers the arc of Stoner’s life and it is a sad one, filled with complex relationships both professional and personal. Both World Wars contribute to the novel’s atmosphere and the relationships of the characters, but it is not a war novel. It is a love story and a story about early 20th century academic life, but mostly it is a book about loneliness and its many facets. We see it manifest within marriages, affairs, families, and working environments and John Williams writes with a captivating tension that had me lamenting the way Stoner is treated by some of his peers, but admiring the way he handles it all.
Tomorrow is the last day of the 2012-13 school year and for the occasion I scanned this entertaining mug shot from my own fourth grade yearbook…for the 1986-87 school year. That year I attended Fort River Elementary in Amherst, Ma. You can see on the edges where my classmate’s signatures come up to the edge of the picture. I loved living in Amherst and was lucky to have parents who let me ride my bike anywhere I wanted. This freedom contributed greatly to my young imagination and I have many wonderful memories of my adventures in that small New England college town. The inside page of the yearbook included these fun facts from the school year, as recorded my 10 year old me.
Best Friends: Ryan Barnhart, Jason Chagnon, Rachel Freedman, and sometimes Joel Cox (two mystery names were crossed out)Favorite Subject: Wizards (this was our math program) Worst Subject: Vocabulary Favorite Recess Activity: Playground Tag Number of Times Tardy: 2 Number of Times Absent: Unknown Lowest Grade in Spelling: 52% Highest Grade In Spelling: 100% Best Lunch Ever Brought: Four-Decker PB Sandwich, 16oz. Cherry Coke, 3 Double Stuff Oreos, 1 Apple, 1 Cherry Yogurt, 1 Bag of Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips, and one soda given to me by Cristina because she felt full (Cristina was French-Canadian, on my swim team, and I had a huge crush on her my entire time living in Amherst, Ma) Worst Lunch Ever Eaten: SCHOOL’S LUNCH Worst Trouble Gotten Into: Getting caught by Mr. Wallace running in the halls, (Ran smack into him!) Funniest Thing Ever Happened In Fourth Grade: CJ Wynder pulling his pants down in front of Mrs. McKean to prove he had blue and yellow underwear Mile Run Time: 9.7 minutes
At the start of this year I embarked upon a futile effort to keep a daily, factual journal where I would document everything that would happen to me every single day. I told myself that I would record only the facts, leaving out any feelings or emotions connected to my daily experiences. My reasoning was that the facts always outlast the feelings and that the emotions tied to an experience are fleeting, and they inevitably change with the stacking of time and added experience.
The parameters I had set up for myself was destined for failure. I was spending a good hour a day writing in my moleskin notebook, one of two I purchased for the endeavor. It became obvious quickly that my minute to minute experiences, recorded in an objective writing style, were very boring. At least in comparison to my restrained minute to minute feelings on such experiences (which I didn’t allow myself to write about).
On top of the time commitment and boredom was my record of being a shoddy journal writer. By setting up the rules beforehand I figured I could avoid the emotional diatribes and drivel of past journaling efforts. I never was able to finish a journal. I was never able to sustain any effort to document in words a life that I would want to revisit in my later years. I have a pile of journals whose entries stretch back over twenty years and which contain more empty pages than full. And nothing really has changed. I don’t find journaling therapeutic. And my current-self’s memory of my experiences has always served as a more sincere reminder of my past than anything that I’ve written about it.
So with that said I’m returning to this blog with the stink of failure still emanating from this last analog journaling effort, and with the clarity of proper reflection driving me to stick with what I’m good at…photography. My photographs will undoubtedly serve as superior generators of the emotions I seek in revisiting my past experiences. And I believe they’ll be a more concise medium for sharing my experiences with others.
I’ve scattered among this post photographs from my spring break trip to California and a trip to the Oregon coast last weekend. In mid-April Katlin and I packed into my Mazda and set out on a road trip with our southern most destination being Big Sur, Ca. We had dinner with my brother, his wife Naomi, and my niece Dahlia in San Francisco. The next day we headed south and spent a night in Santa Cruz, then two in Big Sur, one in the Point Montara Lighthouse hostel, and a final California night among the redwoods in Jedidiah Smith State Park. Our last night was spent on the Oregon Coast in Neskowin, where I met Katlin’s wonderful mother and father. We managed to avoid any of the many disasters that can unhinge a long road trip on a budget and had an amazing time.
After spending a single night over spring break with Katlin’s parents in Neskowin, I was committed to making it back for Memorial Day weekend. Many of Katlin’s family were in town for Saturday when we arrived. Her cousin is a writer and was in the area for his book tour, her other cousin and his wife were there, her brother and sister and her family, grandma, and grandpa were all in the house for what turned into quite the party. We were greeted by the sounds of martini shakers and the smells of the bbq and a seafood bounty. Oysters, salmon, rockfish, prawns, and flank steak covered the protein end of things. The half gallon of Bulleit bourbon we brought as our offering to the festivities was emptied by the night’s end.
We spent Sunday mostly recovering. Katlin and I slept in my tent in the backyard and I’ve never slept that late in a tent in my life. The combination of soft grass, the sound from the creek running along the property, and a small distillery’s worth of bourbon & co. led to a very restful night. The beach was about a city block from her folks’ place and we spent a lot of time there. We threw the baseball back and forth and generally enjoyed the sea air’s muting of the seasonal allergies we both suffer from.
On Monday before our reluctant departure we took a drive over to Pacific City to climb on the dunes, eat lunch, and enjoy the unexpected sunshine. I had never seen a dory boat in action and these maniacs drive their 30+ foot long wooden hull boats right onto the beach where the truck and trailer await. Because the captain’s objective is to get the boats as far up into the shore as possible, they gun it through the last 30-40 meters before shore and hit the sand at full speed, horns blaring. With the amount of people on the beach on any given sunny day it can often lead to tragedy. I was told about an 8 year old girl being run over and killed a couple years prior and there is this story about a young surfer losing his arm to one of these.
After a climb up the dunes and a hamburger lunch we headed back to Seattle. This trip to Pacific City was short and sweet, a sort of pre-summer vacation that has me really looking forward to this coming Friday and the last day of classes. I’ve got big things planned for this summer and plan on sharing the adventures through photography and a sprinkling of commentary. The goal is write less but post more, and I think with the downtime ahead that’s very attainable.