Here, darkness isn't the villain. It's the anti-hero. We cheer on the absence of light in favor of insight - the kind used by blind swordsmen who distinguish right from wrong moves by feeling where the fighting spirit of their adversary sways. And so we stay awake, following the signs etched in the neon, blazing a path toward our fears with a howl that cuts the darkness in half like an alley. We don't dream here. We embrace the insomnia like a cup of black coffee with both hands, eyes as moons, tears as tide.
II. Olympic Sculpture Park
Every alley finds its way to water. They all meet their ends in a view that floods your eyes at the speed of ferryboats passing. It's the there and gone of it that stops us in our tracks. It's the childlike smile you may never see again. Days here retain an afterglow that brightens over time we can't reclaim.
III. Alki Beach
I fled here when I thought the world ended. I ate magically delicious clam chowder from a paper cup at the edge of Pier 57, where a Ferris wheel that no one was riding spun. Moving became mantra: a prayer put into practice. So I flew as far as I could get without crossing an ocean. The fog I arrived in hid what was gone. The sub-arctic air was balm on what was burning up in flames. Painters believe that lighting defines what you're looking at, puts objects as absolute as Mount Rainer in limbo. I saw the heart differently here: it was smoke exhaled from the top of a building to join the overcast like a freed spirit. Love wasn't a concrete word, but a formless mist that your eyes keep redefining depending on time of day: the first morning, it was a cargo ship. By twilight, it was a one-way ticket on the Light Rail. It was something that kept moving. That's it: everything became far up here, as if I was looking at it from the top of a UFO-shaped observatory in a skyline from the space age. The sun itself appears removed: it checks out at 5pm due to the extreme northern latitude and lets night check in early like an Airbnb traveler you'll never see. It's okay to remain anonymously sad and blend in with the rain. Locals don't carry umbrellas on purpose. I'm not okay yet. So I return often to keep my cool on their 51 degree summer nights. Statistically, this is the city with the most single people in it – soloists, loners, former lovers who understand that oneness is wholeness. There's healing properties to that. Up here, nothing is missing. I'm so far away from what happened that it becomes invisible, or at least lost to the fog that keeps rolling through.