Regarding Seattle: Addendum

This is a follow-up to my previous post in which I declared that I’d like to stay put in Philly instead of moving to Seattle.

I wrote that piece a few hours before going for a walk around Discovery Park. By any other city’s standards, this park is bursting with natural beauty. Even in January, the edges of the perfectly-worn wooden staircases exploded with happy green ferns. Damp forest gave way to stone beaches overlooking wide expanses of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains beyond. After sunset, I found my way back by moonlight. I could see about as many stars as I do from our parents’ farm in Central Pennsylvania. But this was entirely within city limits!

a fern-lined trail, with wooden steps, going through thick forest. About 20m ahead, the forest opens up to sunset on the Puget Sound.

By Seattle standards, I think Discovery Park might be sort of commonplace. Just a short drive out of the city is where the real natural beauty starts. In all directions.

trees line the edges of a sandy beach, a couple partly obscured in the bottom left. Pink clouds and blue sky fill the top half.

I was shocked at how starved I felt. Nature-starved. To walk through forest. To stop anytime something caught my eye, and drink it in. To find my way by moonlight. To smell damp pine in the air. To stare into crashing waves. It had been years since I’d done any of these things with such intention. Probably since boy scout camp as a teenager, ten years ago. It felt like my soul came alive with the winter ferns.

A view along the peninsula, with a lighthouse in the distance. Fluffy clouds partly obscure the orange shimmer of the setting sun. The sky takes up the top three quarters of the photo, fading from orange to white to light blue and all the way to dark navy blue in the top right. Dark smudges of clouds fill the sky.

I intend to find times to immerse myself in nature more regularly, from now on. Wherever I live. I know outdoorsy types in Philly who make regular trips out to the Appalachian Trail and such.

But in Seattle, that beauty is just a short bike ride or walk away. You have to work to stay out of nature.

The moon smiles, a fattening crescent, in the top left corner. The sky behind it is dark purple. It fades to light purple and then to light orange on the horizon. Scraggly bare tree branches fight with dark smudges of clouds.

So my previous assessment still mostly holds. I wouldn’t move to Seattle, if I intended to live the city-bound life there that I live in Philly. But moving there with the intention of exploring all the nature around it—that I might do.

An expansive panorama, from the lighthouse on the left to scraggly branches on the right. In the middle, a thick orange cloud reflects off of the gentle blue water.


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