In the early light of Sunday, with fresh coffee and a muffin, I find myself scanning the news for a moment before I find the article. 1 dead, 1 missing. Click, open. Scan down. Snowshoe. It isn’t anyone I know.
Is this how I know I’ve arrived to live here, in this place of snow and rain, mountains and plains? My climbing pack is at my feet, my mind is running through the check list. Harness. Chalk. Gym pass. Tonight I’ll meet my friend for a night sail over the water of Lake Union. In the morning I’ll go to my tech job, new bruises from the climbing wall, wind burn from a night sail, tossing “did you hear about the avalanches near Alpental?” because we all have.
I am a stereotype of a person; drawn to this town by art, kept here by the life that unfolded around me. I am any other single woman with tattoos, skirts and boots, throwing a backpack into a car for the weekend to escape to the mountains, faithfully listening to KEXP until it fades to static. My friends have PhDs and play in bands and work great jobs and work awful jobs. I know fire dancers and yoga teachers and this still does not make me unique. I want this to unsettle me—I should be different, I should stand out. I should want this.
I fill my coffee cup again, and I know that my friends, at their own tables, are doing the same thing. Coffee, scan the news for avalanche information after a treacherous weekend. My friend is gathering her harness and shoes and in a few minutes I’ll leave to pick her up and we’ll practice leading until we can’t anymore, preparing for a summer of adventure. The clouds break and sun streams into my apartment. I don’t have anything to prove anymore, I found my tribe.