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Thursday, May 22, 2003

From the Ministry of Propaganda

Over the course of the last four and a half years I have truly come to love my adopted home here in Washington. I don’t think a single day goes by without my reflecting on the natural beauty of the landscape or how lucky I am to be living in such a great city. I’m sure that I will someday leave Seattle to live in another corner of the globe so I just want it said that I appreciated every moment I spent here.

Over the course of the past two weeks I have woken up on the ground on the rim of a desert canyon, had a picnic on the grassy bank of a mountain river, ridden on a ferry across the Puget Sound, ridden my mountain bike along an abandoned mountain railroad, but most of my time has been spent walking and biking around the streets of Seattle.

I just finished reading David Guterson’s follow-up novel to Snow Falling on Cedars called East of the Mountains. It was a simple yet compelling premise for a novel. I loved his meticulous descriptions of the road east out of Seattle through the mountains. His protagonist, a dying elderly physician, had scaled many of the peaks in these mountains, some I have climbed myself and others I hope to in the future. He writes about places that I have been and even diners where I have stopped for a meal. I am in the process of learning more about the flora and fauna of my new home so that I can write about these places that I love. I want to write with as much authority as Guterson, a lifelong Washington resident.

I know this officially makes me a geek but I have taken up the age-old pastime of bird watching. I broke down and bought a great pair of Nikon binoculars and an Audubon Society field guide to birds of the western states. I can now tell you that the crazy flock of birds we saw flying around the cliffs of Frenchman Coulee were white throated swifts. I think that as a writer I just like to have a name for things. I would rather refer to a tree as a grand fir or a paper birch rather than just calling it a tree.

If you read this page with any regularity you know that I get out of doors quite often. I have seen a lot of this state but I feel that I haven’t yet scratched the surface. I want to map out my summer in order to make the most of the time I have left here, however long that may be. Below is my “To Do” list for Washington.

1) Climb Liberty Bell (elevation 7,720) in the North Cascades
2) Visit the Washington coast (again)
3) Hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail
4) Visit Olympic National Park
5) Ride up Mount Rainier on my bike again (from the gate to Paradise, 18 miles)
6) Do a lot of camping everywhere.
7) See a cougar in the wild (not likely, I know)
8) Watch the Mariners in the World Series (Why not?)

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