Seattle means many things to me. It's where I went to college. And where I fell in love with the person I would one day marry.
But honestly, I have mixed emotions about the city. Seattle was the place where I experienced some of the darkest moments of depression in my life. It was where I hurtled myself out at the Universe—not really caring whether I lived or died—just wondering if anyone would catch me.
And it was where someone did. When I think of those years of young love, I remember endless gray clouds, the constant chill in my bones, and the streets that eternally sparkled with yesterday's rain. And yet I also recall a special someone who brightened my day, held me close until I was warm, and kept me safe and dry. This city was the backdrop to our budding love story, and for that I am forever grateful.
My writing has always been inspired by my emotions and place, which is why I want to share a landscape poem I wrote 21 years ago about this city that means so many different things to me.
When I read it, I am brought right back to who I was at that time of my life. I see the young adult I used to be, feel the old emotions, and remember the challenges and life lessons I was learning back then.
That's the thing about landscape poems. They capture the essence or spirit of a place, which connects us to our sense of belonging in the world. Our words paint a picture that anchors us to the landscapes of our life and, ultimately, to our self.
Pike Place Market
Seattle, WA Oct. 2001
Smoke rises gently here
and there, somewhere between
March and September.
Oftentimes I forget,
meandering these charcoal-
colored, busy city sidewalks,
and I wake to find myself
-teetering on the edge
of a park bench, overpass,
-working like children's cutouts,
following the dotted line
And I smile, a painful smile,
listening to the whispers
floating in from the ocean,
by shouts from the nearby fish-throwers.
surrounded by amber-colored
cherries of Queen Anne.
P.S. For those of you who are wondering what on earth I'm talking about, here's an explanation of Pike Place Market fish-throwing.