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After just spending less than 7 hours in the Seattle area, it's easy to see why the apathetic and angst-filled lyrics of grudge emerged from Seattle in the 1980's.  The city is grey, earth brown, and green.  It lacks color.  Think of all things Seattle.  Coffee: earth brown.  The Space Needle: white, but looks grey from a distant due to grime.  Last year the Seahawks played some home games in grey uniforms--so did the Mariners.  The fish flying through Pike Place: silver, which we all know is just shinny grey.  The weather: famous for grey skies.  Come on!  Even the steamy scenes in 50 Shades of Grey are set in the Escala Tower of Seattle.  Yes, I admit; I read it.   Seattle may scream coffee, flying salmon, bondage, and rainy weather, but what it lacks in color it makes up for in sound.  Whistling trains.  Fog horns.  Bustling of open markets.  Humming rolling from the crawling freeways.  Slapping of water on fiberglass boats.  Grinding metal from construction.  The rustling and swishing of wind through trees.  And the fog horns and the train whistles--again!  Because most of the sounds in Seattle are natural and loud, they blend into a calming mix of distorted romanticism.  But the lack of color in the city can get to a man.  Ask Jimmy Hendrix or Kurt Cobain.  Their lyrics are dark--grey if you will-- but the simple distorted sounds they make with guitars is grudgey and romantic at the same time.  A simplicity that is complex.  A sound that seems so natural but understood to be distorted.

The distorted waterfront of downtown Seattle needs some work.  At least make the waterfront more accessible to pedestrians.  After an hour of trying to find a place to launch, I reverted to the original plan to paddle around Mercer Island.  I cut the paddle short and completed 6 miles before leaving to meet with my cousin Connie and her husband Tom and my Aunt Pat.  Driving up to Bothell reaffirmed my early observations of the colorless city.  But arriving at relatives returned color into the day.  Pat was working in her garden where she has flowers bursting in yellows, purples, and reds.  Her t-shirt, colorful.  Her garden, colorful.  But her house, grey!  Connie and Tom were dressed in rich colored t-shirts.  But it is the smiles from Pat, Connie, and Tom that had the most color of the day.  A reminder that family can always restore color into colorless days.

Tom's generosity needs to be acknowledged.  He is going to ensure the Wine Wagon, aka the Scion XB, gets serviced the day I am in Alaska.  And to think he is doing this after returning from an 11 day trip of his own.  Thank you Tom!

 


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