You know it's spring in Seattle because nettles are popping up all over the restaurant menus. Last Wednesday, Poppy and I sampled some delicious Nettle and Ricotta Agnolotti at How To Cook a Wolf at the top of windy Queen Anne hill. When we exited the warmth and comfort of the wooden boat-like space, the wind had died down, and sidewalks were strewn with petals.
Yes, spring is certainly here. And it puts me in a roaming mood—the woods of course. It's Saturday, but Bracken begs to be edited, and the refrigerator is giving off a scent that doesn't inspire cooking, so it would have to be local woods. In the city, you can hardly do better than Discovery Park.
As we drove into the shade of the park’s old cedars, I heard myself sigh. Soon after, we arrived to a full parking lot and throngs of freshly-parked woodland walkers taking the trail towards the bay. I'd wanted solace in the woods, and it turned out, I didn’t need to worry: All we had to do was to walk the opposite way of everybody else, and resign ourselves to getting temporarily lost (a toughie for me).
The trail we ultimately took wound down into the wetlands, with wooden walkways over skunk-cabbaged bogs, pink salmonberry blossoms brushing our sleeves as we passed, and luminous green moss. I rubbed my fingers on the moss and carried the wet smell with me through the walk. I wanted the wood to claim me for his own. I always do.
I stood near a small pond when the rain came, suddenly, out of the sunny sky. I watched the drops push past the murky surface, and then come up and spread themselves into the ever-expanding circles. All this, just to disappear. Watching the rain cleared my mind, softened my gaze, so I could look inside myself. Baths do this to me. So do stories. They break the tight grip that I have on my heart just enough to create a thin opening, a doorway back to myself.
Calmed and quiet, we left the park. I promised salmonberries that I’d return. And then we were back in the world, refusing to let go of the woods and bay by stopping off to slurp tiny seas in shells at Chinooks—Olympia oysters. When the last oyster shell was lying barren on its bed of ice, I felt the woods slip out of me, no matter how much I willed them to stay. And so, to come back to them, I wrote this blog.