Monday, September 6, 2010

yesterday's airport musings

Today I embarked on my final summer hurrah, an adventure up to Eastern Washington State to visit my relatives. They live in a little rural town of 2,400 people. I love it up there. I spent long stretches of time with them (my aunt, uncle, and cousin) every summer from the time I was 10 until I was 16. After that, work has always gotten in the way. Their house is a little oasis in the middle of a rather conservative, Walmartian landscape. The town itself is charming, don’t get me wrong, with a little farmer’s market and some tasty restaurants, but its inhabitants are about as progressive as you’d expect in such a rural, farm-based community.

snapshot of the valley, 2006

I come from a metropolis of some 2 million people, so the change is pretty darn dramatic. And when I say “metropolis,” I mean the South San Francisco Bay, so we’re pretty much surrounded by metropolises on all sides on top of our own hustle and bustle. When I’m up in Eastern Washington, I finally get to ease off of my Consumer-Driven Lifestyle. We walk the dog, we garden, we watch classic Hollywood movies, we cook. In the lulls of the day I listen to their records on the basement stereo, I wander around their property, I write in the garden, I marvel at my cousin’s scale-model trains.

their dining room/kitchen, 2007

My uncle’s job is somewhat complicated, but part of it is running a salmon restoration project along a river. Basically, they create little side-streams that allow the fish to migrate safely. There’s a small cabin office on the site, and my uncle commutes there a few times a week to attend to business. I always tag along at least once, partially because it means we get to drive through the mountains in a red Triumph convertible from the 1960s, but mostly because I love taking pictures there. I wander around the town in awe of the quaintness and stillness of everything. Plus, we always get some delicious lunch. There is that, too.

the river, 2007

a quaint house, 2007

Right now I’m in SeaTac airport, waiting for my connecting flight over the Cascades. It’s the airport I’ve spent the most time in. Between my layovers and comings and goings, I’ve gotten familiar with the place. I love airports. I guess I love all transit stations. The concept of a place that holds people who are between places is an interesting one. They’re this perfect microcosm of human culture, little self-contained cities. And the way we spread ourselves out in the gate—opting always for isolation from strangers, prime real estate are the seats with a view, desperately curious as we watch others but always smiling sheepishly and looking down if we’re caught.

I ended up not taking birthday pictures. Silly me. I'm new to this whole blogging thing, and my photography is pretty art/project-based. I don't do a whole lot of everyday "I did this and then this" stuff. But I'll figure it out.

Here's Alex's birthday present to me though, a vintage silver and gold locket. I looooove it, props to his friend Allie who helped him pick it out! I already made little pictures on cotton paper and little acetate covers for them to put inside. Also, today I'm wearing that green dress for the first time and it is working out very nicely!

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