It’s seven a.m. in Seattle and the sky has just begun to lighten. Flying into SeaTac yesterday, I could see forsythia in full bloom and the pink and lavender of blossoming fruit trees over the brillant green of grass and moss. This is what I remember about Seattle: something is always green, always blooming in The Emerald City.
Yesterday, too, I left Boston’s Logan Airport at six a.m., with a brilliant red rim of sunrise just peeking over the Atlantic. My coast has a distinctive shoreline and I could wave to the sleeping island of Cape Ann, a collection of lights on a map of black, against the nightblue ocean, as we began the westward ascent. Nine hours later I laid eyes on Whidbey Island as my plane banked southward toward Seattle.
In-between islands, I read essay after essay of my fellow students’ work. Since I write creative non-fiction, the essays are intimate, stories about their lives, about episodes each writer is puzzling to make sense of. One is about a fire and a desire for simplicity—riveting. One is about a search for intimacy with God and the disappointment along the way. Another is about teaching inner city children. More to read, today, to be ready for discussions tomorrow. We drive to Whidbey this afternoon, after a promised lazy morning.
I’m sleeping at my friend Beth’s home. She and Simon have a lovely bungalow with gorgeous windows, and a sweet guest room high in the eaves, where I slept nine luxurious hours on a very full stomach. Dinner was at Beth’s favorite restaurant, a vegetarian/local foods emporium where my entrée included sage polenta piled with butternut squash and gorgonzola, drizzled with a pomegranate/fig glaze… and a salad of baby greens, and a dessert of chocolate soufflé. With Emily, Matthew and Allison gathered around the table, discussion flew from Flannery O'Connor to lives in cities, to reading and writing, and the meal was heavenly.
The sun is slowly coming up now, at a lazy pace, and I am tucking into my guestroom with another stack of essays to read.