Monday, June 14, 2010

View From My Window

From Room 603, 525 Minor Avenue North, Seattle, Washington, I can see the Olympic Mountains when clouds are swept away and the sun just right. The Seattle Space Needle is the tallest building west of where we live at the Pete Gross House. Micala, Korrina, and Kayla are with their Side By Side volunteers this moment traveling to the top of the Space Needle. From our apartment, I watch the Space Needle capsule traveling from ground to top and wonder if my child is on that ride. If I stood on the balcony could they see me waving? Should I call on my cell and tell them to look my way? No. I'll just watch the view from my window. After they have been on top, they will take the monorail to the food court with Debbie and Megan, the volunteer experts in fun. I catch a glimpse of what looks from here like an inch long streak of monorail heading south from the Seattle Center. The girls will be riding the sleek caterpillar-like monorail before dark. If the monorail could be a caterpillar, then I imagine waiting for the monorail as the time of chrysalis. My imagined ohhs and ahhs of the ride could be reminiscent of a birthing butterfly.
Kathy is sitting next to me in the apartment as I look out the window. "Do you think we'll go one day and ride the monorail?" she asks. I don't know. Tonight, I went to the store with Kathy Garner and had to sit down after putting a few items into the cart. I could not bag the groceries nor carry a sack. It was all I could do to walk back to the car. "I'm going to the roof garden to call (husdand) Gene," Kathy said. I return to the view.
The yellow, red, white, and green metal tented roofs of the Seattle Center Pavilion mound like mammoth bright clothes set on rocks to dry on the horizon. To the north of the Space Needle there is a crane. To the south, a building with a helicopter at rest on top. Between our building and the space needle is constant concrete, glass, steel, brick, wood, pipes and wires. The buildings rise tall from the street so that the roadway is mostly blocked from view. Closer to our building, just half a block away is a line of trees. Green tops appear to thrive in the space allowed them. A flat roof building next to ours rises to second story. I see rain puddle pools that disappear in bright sunlight. If I stand close to the window and look straight down, I see the black tarmac of parking lot with white-lined demarcation. There are straight lines marking "park between," and the hash marks cluing "don't park here," and there is a handicap parking space. My eyes are drawn to that handicap space where from my window I see the bold white paint of a wheel chair icon against black asphalt. Looking down on it, the symbol reminds me of a crime scene with the chalked shape of a body. The wheel chair icon seems to define the landscape.

If I stand on the balcony and look north, I see a slice of Lake Union. The fire works will be there on July Fourth. When I sit in the living room and look north, downtown skyscrapers are neighbors. We are surrounded.

The view from 1349 Main, Washington Island, Wisconsin, is different. The hundred year-old living room picture window is drafty around the edges and loose. The birds gather in the front yard where Joe feeds them. Wild turkeys amble into the yard to peck at the seed he puts on the snow in winter. Pheasants drag tail feathers into the yard for feeding. At times, there are so many birds of different variety bombarding the feeders that I wonder if an air traffic controler cold be helpful. Deer gather across the street and eat the bird seed that Joe puts down on the opposite side of the street for shy ones. The low, white painted fence line sits just back from the road and borders the yard where three ancient trees leaf each year and provide such shade that the grass is thin from lack of sun and too many children running, skipping, biking and skate boarding through. Ah, the view from 1349 Main. On a clear day when the trees are thin, before the full bloom of summer, I can see Trinity Lutheran Church. When I am in the yard, the driver of every passing car waves.

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