2016. Sounds like a date in the future, doesn’t it? This is what I would have thought when I was a kid. We spent a week in between Christmas and New Years in Washington, the first time we’ve spent the holiday season anywhere other than NYC in nearly 20 years ago. I’ll admit, getting on a plane was the last thing we wanted to do after Christmas, but once we got there (and after we got acclimated to the cold, which was a sharp contrast to the freakish 70 degree weather we had around Christmas here in NY), we were happy for a change of scenery.
Visiting a city in a different season that you’re otherwise familiar with is almost like experiencing it new all over again. Seeing Seattle dressed up for the holidays was great fun, even if the rain and the cold was a shock. And then 2 days into our trip, the skies cleared – I mean REALLY cleared – and apparently this was the first time in many weeks the clouds opened up. This meant that we had clear views of both snow capped mountain ranges that flank the city on both sides – the Olympics and the Cascades.
If you’ve never experienced driving up a hill in Seattle and suddenly seeing the majestic mountain ranges of either the Olympics or the Cascades come into view, then it’s hard to describe. Words can’t justify it; neither can pictures. Since it’s been so long since we’ve been to the PNW in winter, we haven’t seen such a clear view like this in nearly 20 years (the mountains are visible in summer, but is less dramatic because there isn’t as much snow). Same thing with Mt. Rainier which is ever so present in the Washington landscape. I remember even when I lived there, how surprising it was to drive around a bend and suddenly have Mt. Rainier majestically looming large right in front of you. This is the stuff that I miss, and this is the reason why I have a strong pull to see “big” nature when we’re there.
The main reason we went to Washington during the holidays was to check out Mark’s mom’s new house on the water. The view of Puget Sound from their windows is spectacular and there is now space for all of us to stretch and spread out. It feels like a “grandma” house, I told Mark – one that the kids might have memories spending summers in.
I get these cycles where I feel sharp nostalgia for those Washington years. It’ll get triggered by something like watching a Kathleen Hanna documentary or catching a particular song on my playlist. We didn’t know it then, but to live in a place that shifted popular culture by its music, its youth, its food and its art, is an interesting thing to experience. Does this happen anymore? Has there been anywhere in the states in the last 10 years that had the same buzz as the PNW did in the early nineties? Maybe Austin? I guess Brooklyn? What’s next?
P.S. You can watch some of my Periscopes from our trip on Katch.