Sunday, November 04, 2007

Northwest by Morning

Olympia has a very nice morning sky. I saw the crescent moon sitting just above Venus in the predawn east. Both were visible through partly cloudy skies that gave each a bright halo. Saturn was high overhead along with a smattering of stars visible between clouds. Hardly the expansive, dark skies of Window Rock but very nice. I can see the universe from here. I never felt that way in Phoenix, surrounded by all those people and all that business. Too much human activity to allow myself to live in a world of my own. There’s plenty enough of that in Olympia, too, but the scale is so much more human. Nothing is very far away, local traffic doesn’t seem bad so far and I can find everything I want or need pretty conveniently. If I need a major urban center, Seattle is 60 miles away.

This city is very quiet just before dawn. I-5 hums constantly in the background but is not especially notable. Virtually no one is about. Not one other walker in a town . Crossing Fourth Street, the eastbound main artery through downtown, I see two miles of empty road; not one vehicle in sight. Even the convenience store normally open early is closed on this Sunday morning.

I walked a bit this past week, around my neighborhood mostly but also a three mile round trip downtown. Moving at foot speed offers a much more intimate view of the town. I passed a classic small auto repair shop with a pristine lobby and antique automotive memorabilia. A hobby shop looked like it supplied an active population of small scale builders; mostly model train buffs, but the shop also had some older bicycles and even a few small motorcycles (including a one cylinder BSA) from the 60's. I also found the Fish Tale Brewery along the way.

In the neighborhood, I walked up the hill to the giant water tank that punctuates Olympia’s eastside skyline. It’s tip elevation may be as high as the Capitol Building, the town’s other highly visible landmark. I discovered that the tank sits atop a reservoir/cistern that covers the better part of a city block on the eastern heights. The reservoir is behind a maybe eight to ten foot ivy covered berm. Walking past, I gave it no mind until I saw a well-worn path leading straight up through the ivy. At the top is an expanse of concrete capping the reservoir. It’s not posted. Looks like a great place to rollerblade.

The sun is well up now, an hour earlier than yesterday by my clock. The light is still soft and gentle under a mostly cloudy sky. So far the change in light from the bright Arizona sky to the northwest shades of gray has not affected me that I can tell. Friends in the southwest warned me about the extended winter darkness a gray skies. I like the long nights of winter and I enjoy wet weather (especially when I can get warm and dry again) so I have every reason to think the change will be anything but good.



Blogger Jim Yeager said...

The winters are a little milder in Virginia than I imagine they are in Washington state, but it still gets cold and dark enough for a lot of people. It doesn't bother me much at all -- I grew up in the northeast. Gray skies aren't so bad. Dress warm and stay dry, and you should be fine...

5:20 AM  

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