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Return to the West Coast

There's a book called Some Kind of Fairy Tale about a girl who escapes to the land of fairies. There, everything looks much the same as the English countryside where she lives, but the light is far brighter. There, she can see every color on the spectrum — shades of blues and greens she never knew existed. So vivid are her surroundings she must squint to take them all in.

Seattle is no hidden fairy realm. But early October sunlight rebounded off rising mist from the Puget Sound suggesting something magical.

On this day, there were no clouds — only white whisps that streaked the sky and mirrored snow-capped mountains. The rain that one accepts as Seattle fact was not inevitable after all, and moisture came in only on the breeze. Dry skin — accustomed to thick lotion layered on to guard it from bitter, Northeast wind — inhaled deeply. The balmy air seeped into pores, smoothing lines and filling in weathered cracks.

From the water, the glassy surface of the Sound seemed to extend for miles, generating sympathy for those early explorers who feared the edge of the Earth.

Houses perched cleverly on the end of Bainbridge Island, a piece of land amidst the Sound. They were the first to claim the small peninsula the overlooks the entire span of water, backdropped by the Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier, and the Cascade Range.

On this luminous day, these houses sat surrounded — nearly engulfed — by city, sea, rock, and sky. On this luminous day, a fortunate few awoke to see so much of the world all at once.

So vivid were the surroundings, they may have squinted to take them all in.

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