Welcome May


Yesterday I ducked low beneath cherry blossoms, an arbor over the sidewalk like a portal into another place.  The irises are beginning to bloom, the tulips exploding with the last of their strength, stamens like bits of char at the center.  I even see California poppies, though we are no where near California.  The sun is too hidden to be mistaken for California.  Then again, my California is a southern one; smog covered, hot and burning.  The ash here is of a more dangerous sort- mountain ash, volcano ash.  Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it.  

I battled rain and wind, after the archway of blossoms.  My umbrella a sail; comedic.  The gusts pushing me into laughter.  What else are you supposed to do; wind torn, drenched, a black sail pointed and threatening to carry me across the street?  I dissolved into gazelle laughter.  Leaping.

By the time I reached my bus stop my shoes were frothing.  Animal shoes, hungry for distance. A detail that reads as false but no, my shoes frothed.  Sometimes the truth is entertaining enough to refuse embellishment.  (There was a good reason, but I will let the reason remain hidden.  I have to keep something hidden, and why not why my shoes frothed? It is a silly detail, a superflous detail. And you don’t need to know all of my reasons.) 


[Again, this is taken from text written at work.  Lovely day at MoF actually.  Usually no better than a chair, or another placard with information sprawled on its surface, today I was a Person with Ideas and Thoughts to at least a few patrons.  Maybe something was in the water, maybe it’s the spring time. Also, I need to read some more Robert Burns.  After a quite pleasant conversation I find myself yearning for some words from the other side of the ocean.]


Fairy Tales and Buses


The most beautiful woman sits across from me on the bus. Arched eyebrows, skin the color of dark caramel.  Cream scarf caught around her neck and jacket with a ruffled collar that I would, in no way, be able to wear.  I expect her to get off at the first stop, or the second, but as I leave she remains seated, she moves along the arteries of the city and disappears. 

Downtown, the tops of the buildings are caught in mist.  Grey day in Seattle, no surprises there.  It seems a day for magic, for things to happen.  I am not the beautiful girl on the bus, but she exists and I know nothing about her, I will never see her again.  She is perfect in my unknowing.


The cherry blossoms are giving way to leaves, and white petals shower off of trees I cannot name.  Dogwood? Myrtle? Last night a man told me he remembered kissing my neck, the salty taste of my skin.  He could have waxed poetic; told me about oceans and brine and the way our bodies are like water, continually renewing.  He didn’t.  I remember the collision of our bodies differently–the night thin above our bodies, the way I wanted to claw out of everything.  Depression is a funny thing, so thick and present when caught in a backwards glance.


I have been told I am like the wind, moving constantly. A creature of air and current. I remember my mythology, my fairy tales.  There are so many winds, drawn with puffed cheeks and billowing beards.  The wicked and cold North winds, the warm and kind South winds.  Wind that is caught carefully in a sack and released at the wrong time, wind that carries forlorn brides to distant lands, repentant and clutching tallow stained shirts.  East of the sun, west of the moon.  To the ends of the earth.


Outside the flags barely move, they shift limply on their poles, they hang listlessly.  The glass walls let in fogged light only slightly paler than the grey carpet, than the off-white metal girders.  My body is not wind, is not water, is not anything but sitting here, solidly in a corner.  I want to know where the woman was going, I half expect her to walk past me here, clutching a museum map, her reflection multiplied across the metal skin of planes.  She has vanished into the city, beyond the city.  She is drinking coffee, her lips marking the edge of the paper cup.  She is reading a book, turning each page slowly.


I remember my fairytales.  A girl wanders into the woods following the next flower.  Clutching her treasures to her breast she is lost and confused and at the periphery wolf-teeth glint.  Skin the color of fresh snow, lips the color of blood.  The horse head that speaks to the goose-girl, a hidden princess.  In fairytales, there are central characters and the background fades into a tangle of brambles, into the vast ocean between the house of the sun and the house of the moon.  Would I be Snow White, that princess Aurora, or would I be a maid simply cleaning the flagstones as sleep descends in its spell-filled cloud?


[I have begun to write at work. My real job at my paying job. The language is a bit stilted, the threads meandering, but at least I am keeping my mind active.  I don’t know what use most of it has, so I suspect it will end up here.]

Icy World

Normally I keep my posts here in the realm of literature, but I will stray a bit here.  Though it ties back to a book.  

There are many things a bit wonky about the Museum of Flight.  Each typo I see hurts a bit, and I hear that signage throughout the museum can tend towards inaccurate.  One of the top issues I take, however, is about a cold little planet.  Ex-planet.  Planet according to us: the video in the theater Pluto is still #9.  Today in the NY Times this opinion piece caught my eye.

Science can shift quickly, and I do think it’s the responsibility of museums and schools to stay up to date with what we tell children.  At the Museum of Flight, we promise education and then inform patrons with something that’s been inaccurate since 2001, even if it only had consensus a year and a half ago.  We should at least be telling of the Pluto debate, and providing information similar to the Pluto plaque.  I see so many kids come through the MoF, and I know that most of them are running from plane to plane with only the bright colors and possibility of guns in mind.  But there have to be some that are hungry for information, and there we are, telling them something inaccurate.  

Maybe that’s why I’m still hooked on ether.  The science is wrong, but it has been acknowledged to be wrong.  It has the veil of history over it, and no one is trying to convince a ten year old that the lumniferous ether transmits light through the void of space.  Or passively providing information and letting someone walk away without mentioning the historical context of what was provided.  

The more time I spend outside of education, the more I want to stand in front of a classroom again.  I can feel myself launching into teacher-mode when I’m at work; rambling off the littlie information I know about planes simply to be sharing something with another person.  Most often the words bubble around and fall a bit flat- no one is interested in listening so much as climbing into the flight simulator and making it do loops.  

I’m not going to take over control of MoF, and I wouldn’t really want to.  I’m sure there are plenty of other museums that also say Pluto is planet #9, and I just happen to be at one of them.  Perhaps it’s like a dictionary: the standard for languages but the last place that active words end up.  It’s only lag time, and I happen to be in the same between Pluto as planet and non-planet.  Silly strange place to be in.

Quick Shifts

Tree at Marymoor Park

This morning the sun was almost painful, brilliant against the lake as I ran.  It was like this a few days ago as well, but I was out earlier and the sun seemed more poured against the land than just blazing.  Today, at a later time and higher arc, it was almost too much.  I still have to take pictures along the trail, but I haven’t yet.  Lou had to go to an appointment in Redmond, and she dropped me off at Marymoor Park to wait.  The sun was bright and warm against my back and I found a picnic table beside a park and among the evergreens.  By the time she picked me back up it was the grey of clouds right before rain, and the wind had picked up to cut right through my optimistic skirt. The weather shifts almost instantly here. And I love it, even if I do get caught in the rain or with too many layers on beneath sun.  I’ve been working on Body of Climates with Dave and his friend for a few weeks now, and I wasn’t really sure how much continuous text could be written about the weather.  It was (and is) an experiment, and I think it’s working well.  I don’t find weather to be a banal topic of conversation in the least.  For me, the weather is a way to share the world I’m in with other people.  Some people don’t want to talk about the weather, but it’s around me constantly, and I can’t help but fixate.  One of the advantages of working the admissions desk at the Museum of Flight is the large glass wall that’s to the right of us.  We can watch the weather change and still be protected.  There are still some leaves left on the trees, and when it’s sunny the yellow glows against the dark brown of trunks and soil.  Often there will be sun against the ground and grey clouds in the sky and it reminds me, for some reason, of plunging into a cool pool.  I think I am easily swayed into water so I can find similarities easily, but the contrast of the hills to sky is like that of warm skin and the sudden and pleasurable shock of water surrounding you.  Yesterday the sky was a pale robin’s egg but clouds hung low and around us, turning into downright fog by the evening.  It’s these contrasts and juxtapositions that I love here.  

river near the gates at Marymoor

I wish I could write more, but I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to be.  I’ve been finishing up Through a Universe Darkly, and I have a bit more incentive to finally get through it because I know someone to lend it to now.  Lots of information about nutrinos and telescopes filled with bleach at the moment, but Bartusiak writes about it better than I can.  I do, however, want to find the engravings that Thomas Wright used to depict the Milky Way as a disk of stars.  The image credit puts says they appear by permission of the Durham University Library, so maybe I can find a way to ILL them.  Photocopies plus a transfer marker would be great fun with my collages.