Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

I went into the realm of the intelligentsia the other day, that place of devotion to the mind. While my visit took place in the physical realm, a given place and time, it was also a journey into that head space that i know all too well. It was a journey i had looked forward to, to a place i felt cast out of, and i place i thought i had unwillingly left behind. But it was a room filled with mirrors, my reflection all around. Although i felt disconnected and critical of what was there, like i did not belong, and i also saw myself reflected in so many of the mirrors. Upon reflection i did see, that part of what i was rejecting was me, and i also saw the reasons why i had to move beyond. And the answers, subject to change, were not those that i expected to find.

The physical place was an office loft just down the street from Pioneer Square. The purpose – a “house party” for an evolutionary worldview seminar from Enlightenment Next magazine. It sounded ideal, a place to gather in the study of consciousness. I arrived just at 8am, or 11 eastern time, when the conference was to begin. A thin woman in preppy dress let me into the building and i took the elevator upstairs and walked down the hall into the office loft where the party was about to begin. Comfortable blue cushioned stacking chairs were set out in three rows in front of the projection screen, and a couch stood on each side. I walked in and looked around, was barely greeted and sat down. The people, a mix of men and women, were neither young nor old, but seemed all unto their individual selves, notepads out and staring at the screen. The tone was understated, the men all had short hair, the women wore little if any makeup, and all wore sensible expensive shoes. And i recognized my face in theirs. One woman played on her laptop, i thought to get the image on the screen, she seemed frustrated, and so I offered that my link was in my email. We have the audio, she offered up, i’m just looking for the interactive page. I was surprised to learn that this was an audio rather than a telecast.

The conference had just begun, so i listened in to the introductions that seemed to go on and on. It was weird staring at a screen listening to disembodied voices chatter on. I told myself if was like talk radio – CBC or NPR – talk shows which i miss – but then as the day progressed, i felt more and more something amiss. The introductions and the first talk were long, and despite all the words often nothing was really said. It had been a while since i had been around the chattering class, and while the term escaped me for a while, i understood why it applied. It took forever to get to a point, if one was ever made.

Instead the speech was full of repetition of the buzz words – evolutionary, post-modern, leading-edge, to dialogue, transcend, cosmic, consciousness, shared cultural values, complexity, irony and more- and at least two adjectives or adverbs proceeded every noun or verb. But it is the vocabulary and jargon of the class, the syntax or i forget the word, that defines who is on the inside and who is out. And i remembered how this academic vocabulary often bothered me for they formed the walls of the ivory tower and helped create a disconnected insular world – a world that called me but that also left me feeling separate from all the was around – for we would study and pontificate but really never join in or truly understand. It is a world apart though enmeshed in the whole.

And as the dialogues went on, responses from the audience began to fill the screen – twittered or tweeted or otherwise chatted in, and a globe with flags showing where people were listening from appeared on the bottom of the screen. Perhaps i am no longer of the post-modern world which they seek to grow, for i wished to focus and listen and not multi-task shifting my attention from the voices to the written words and the images that filled the screens. At the end of each segment a few phone calls would come in, and a conversation would occur, but within the room people did not chat or otherwise connect. Photos would occasionally pop up of the house parties around the globe and they appeared very much the same. But to me all felt so disembodied and disconnected, despite the apparent interaction, cut off. Or is it just me who is disconnected from this world – or am i. For in the realm of the intelligentsia interaction occurs more with ideas and knowledge rather than with people per se.

But is this what interaction and connection has become about in the post modern age, and maybe they are correct and i have fallen behind the times – for there is more connection that before, and it is i who feels so cut off. I sit in hostels and many city centers and all are in front of their laptops, something that i have recently joined in and people do not really connect with the others in the room, but spent their times on facebook and more, connecting so much beyond what i do. And they twitter and chat on the cell phones, connect to the world through technology. And it is just me who stands outside again, not connected in this way.

And many of the ideas, while not revolutionary were certainly worth pondering, but i felt it was mainly coming for the head. Is that what consciousness is all about?. But i look at myself and i see how i lead my life in that way too, and maybe what i see is more a reflection of me, than just what is going on. Or did i join with my peers, who are similar, gathering in this realm. For some are connected personally. One man was desperate for human connection, kept pushing for a time and place to meet, the answers he was given were evasive, never really coming to a point. The people who are here want to join in something larger than themselves, for what would be the point in coming here, if not for that. But i left alone and as isolated as when i arrived.

It is critical and i became a judge, judging others as myself. Few looked alive, with tight-drawn faces, sensible shoes (the uniform that i just bought) and clothes, which for women have the correct amount of flare, the intellectuals where life is lived in the head, more khakis – reptilian people. Short hair, but not too short, on the men. And maybe that is what turned me off, but i recognized myself in many of their faces. But the smooth voices and philosophical language helped place me on the outside. And i realize that is what i have always been an outsider who has wanted to climb in – or have i. am i one who they know will rock the boat, criticize and poke holes in the new paradigm. For i always said i wanted a sociology outside the academic walls, but also of the walls of the cultural class. But at the same time i know i feel the pain of not being let in those very walls that i wish to knock down, for it is not necessarily the inside that i wish to eliminate, but the walls themselves that divide us all, and that separate me. The talk of the complexity, but i feel they complicate all with the nuances of speech, but then i too get impatient with simplistic answers.

The focus is on the creative impetus, for we are creators of our world now and in the future. But with the primacy on creation there is a dismissal or disrespect of those who serve, reflected in this ideology and in our society as a whole. For the talk is of leaders, creators, but those who do the daily work left by the wayside. And in our society the great divide, those who serve downward wages, and the reciprocity of roles diminished – the cooks and clerks and cleaners and drivers of the world, those who silently work to look after those who create. And it is not just monetary but in attitude. I have felt it as I slipped on down (see look how I phrase it) the belief that is felt that the “others” do not know and in doing so there is a creation of the others. And some of it is related to the feminist revolution, the movement away from being a caretaker to a creator, and not realizing there are many who still do, and the relations are now distant, no longer intimate. And is not serving a giving of the heart?

It was out here, back in 2001, that I felt the divide, and the view that there were coming to be two types of people. was it greater here, or that I had left my comfort zone? The citified thin people well dressed in new cars, and those who lived in run down bungalows and trailers around, in sweats and jeans, and larger form, not seeing then the energy stagnating within – for the roles were lost, not only monetarily, but a role of fitting into society. Or is it a lack of respect for all i see, by those with power and money?

But the areas that belong to the cultural are often beacons of light, they are not just the new condo lands, soulless, like belltown, soma, yaletown and more, but also homes and gardens and food and events. And as I discovered yesterday, are pretty too. but not just the post-modern role, for have been like this for different incarnations – maybe not just monetary, but those who are allowed to create. Is this just my own bias, for there also live there many who serve, but who serve from above and not below.

And it seems ironic that I experience this here in Seattle which has seen the waves and the fallout of the shifts – from transport and a port and shipping and a gold rush town to Boeing and aerospace, to the computer revolution, green and rise of the cultural creative class. As they say in the spiral of development many sectors exist simultaneously, but in the evolutionary paradigm, with the idea of levels they are at the top, the pinnacle of what is to be achieved.

And the gaps i see in Seattle help show what the best ideas can do if they are merely from the head. And maybe this is the mirror i saw, overdeveloped in the head and less in the heart – the knowing what is right, but without always the feeling. The reserve and the constraint i sense in this environment a result of this, not feeling too hard or much – yes, shut down the darker side, but is merely repressed and that repression shuts out the light as well. The control, the clippyness as all brews beneath the surface, out of touch and knowing it, could it be the grand waking up. But without love and the heart there is little to be achieved, and i wonder if this was what was missing here – some discussion but more as a sidebar.

And with the discussion of evolution and stage of development, with hierarchy where one stands above, the cultural creatives, post-modern beings on top, i could not but help if what they wanted to create was the post modern version of the Leninist vanguard of the proletariat, a revolution to serve all but with intellectuals at the leading edge. Or is it a movement, possibly unconscious, for those who thrive to maintain their leading place. In a world where many feel lost, is this not intellectuals carving out a role, a break from tradition, but a continuation of the same. The talk was for evolutionaries the leaders of the new post-modern enlightenment. And does not the vision of a leading edge create the us and them that a unified consciousness transcends – for we all are part of a whole.

Evolution is defined as a developmental process, a transition of the view of the world as static and unchanging to one that is in process. But I wonder who they argue against; I know the enlightenment thought that ruled for so many years, but in many ways was just the blink of an eye in human history. what is new is not the idea or change, for instance Buddhism says that all is temporary, but what is still new is the idea of direction, and one that as humans that we can control – but can we control it?.

But the evolution of today is that which lay within, and not just without. The issue is when he talks about the shared cultural values, the perspective of all becoming more complex, and the new impetus and technology that allow us all to share. While that is true, but the emphasis on sophistication, self-aware being and levels of development leaves out and behind the greatest energy of love.

they talk of the leading edge as what began in the 1960s for those with privilege, wealth, education and freedom and the focus on the individual, the big me. and is not this paradigm shift a message to those of us who caught in the dialogue that the isolated me is but a myth, and so many never went here, but is it a stage of development, or is it a sidebar in humanity. the me generation removed the shackles but is now feeling lost not knowing the next step. But the impetus is to keep on moving, though still really not knowing how or where. But you can’t go back, and that is true, but how much can you pick up of what was thrown away. So the next steps are but a continuation of the path you have set yourself on. In the traditional world view you knew who you were and what your purpose was here on earth, but as we broke off the shackles that were destroyed and not so many are wandering lost.

and am I just a prime example of the post modern dilemma – of someone who got lost along the way, and are not my movements not just indicative of the times, and some will argue a time I chose to be born into. And that is what they define – the post modern individual. The opening of the interior landscape but when is it just narcissistic self obsession? And how to we move beyond to truly connect?

There is a focus on expanding knowledge, but what is defined as knowledge is according to the existing paradigm – it is the history according to one particular class, but given that all is intertwined many live it, but there are many other knowledges that exist outside, maybe not accepted by the intellectuals whose roles as they see it is to guide.

many worldviews exist in the same culture, in the same locale, and thus within us too. the traditional, empire, modern and post-modern all exist simultaneously and are interconnected. But when we speak of levels of development and talking to their needs, yes need to acknowledge all, but is it to lead people to the next stage, or to integrate and value what is there, not as behind or in the past, for in doing so are we that different after all. I look like a lot of the people, people who rule from the heads instead of the hearts, the intellectuals of the world, and that is why this focus on consciousness is as so. And I wanted to write that it is stripping the spirituality away, but is that it? And are those I judge like myself, trying to move away from the intellect, growing slowly with a heart consciousness, and I believe some are. Or was my trip there to show the limits in the intellectual focus I desired and had.

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City Disconnection

I leave Seattle in a few hours, on a grey day just like the one on which i arrived.  It has been just over two weeks in this area, less the five days in port townsend, but it seems like it has been forever. And my body and energy seem  to have returned to a previous time, for despite all my walking, i feel cut off from my body, living more in my head.

 Is it the seminar i went to the other day (which i still need to finish writing about), of consciousness and enlightenment and evolution, but from an intelligentsia perspective, and my mind spins and is rushed, while by body is separate, sluggish and sinking. My body feels more like it did during those years i spent as a student or in an office, the years i was so cut off from it, with the mind and body split at least in my consciousness.

Or is it the hostel where i stayed, the buzz of vibration felt even at night, chaotic city energy all around, and my sleep is shallow. I feel the electricity or the wifi or something pulse through my body at night. It awakens and dulls at the same time. And like the energy which comes from all directions, in so many different vibrations, my thoughts and mind spin around, and despite attempts at meditation i am not still. And maybe this helps explain the busyness and the focus on multi-tasking that you see in the urban world, so hard to concentrate on any one thing.

 So i go today, not far, to vashon island, really a suburb, where i have also been before, but where i can hopefully get some stillness, sort out the many thoughts bouncing around my head.

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It’s amazing what a difference a few blocks or a mile can make in a city. You can walk just a short distance and transport yourself to another world. From downtrodden poverty to yuppie riches, from the shore to the canyons of tall building to parks. From a zone where people come to visit or work to a neighbourhood where people live. And today i passed through all of that and discovered an area that was new to me only a few blocks from where i had trod before and that discovery of the “new” helped change my frame of mind (or perhaps because my mind needed to be changed, i stumbled onto something new.)

Actually i walked several different blocks today, but the first through belltown and the core and across the denny street bridge for the first time, but that seemed like more of the same, although i entered the new Whole Foods store. I wandered its aisles and explored, had eaten so i didn’t shop and was temporarily enthralled by what i had found and told myself i would stop back there. Although i had my morning coffee and played on the internet at a cafe i discovered yesterday, there is little new i have discovered in Seattle this time. I’ve walked to places i’ve been before, to Fremont, and along the water to Ballard, and yes a new coffee shop there, and to the docks where i had been before, watching the various boats pass through, and yes i like that place, it made me smile, but did not enthrall and i walked somewhat blind. The main rediscovery that got me enthused was my going into Fred Meyers, a huge grocery and general store, a chain mainly in Oregon, with both reasonable prices and some of the food i love.

And this afternoon after walking on the shore, i made the trip up to one section of capital hill and a cafe i discovered about a week ago (and after several times there the thrill had worn off, and while nice was not as special as before) and made my way up to Volunteer Park where i had felt the trees as energy before. Today was different, it was sunny and warm verging on hot, and i lay on the grass where others picnicked and lay, alone, with friends and/or with their dogs and took a nap. it felt so good to just lay in the sun, as i had been down by the water and the grass had been wet. I wanted to write, but i felt unenthused about where i was and where i might go. I got up and had to pee and walked to an area of the park where i had not been before.

And then i crossed out the other side, tree line streets and well maintained huge single family victorians with gardens on tree lined streets. It was just after five and children were playing on the sidewalks – and i smiled inside. Though only about a mile or so from the downtown it was a very different world. i wanted to write so i went back into the park and sat on the grass in an emptier area in earshot of the traffic that passed by on 15th Avenue. I started to scribbled about how unenthused i was, about this place and places around, feeling like i had seen all before, some had been wonderful, some merely interesting, but it felt like old ruts and time to move on. I needed to write, had not really done so in a few days, but did not want to feed that energy anymore.

I was going to go back to where i stay, but decided to walk along the road, not sure where i was, but had seen a bus that with the destination “downtown” so i could follow the route if i got misplaced or was further out than i thought. I walked back along 15th avenue where there were cafes and restos an i stumbled on a herbal shop – with teas and tinctures and so much more and browsed and bought some tea – reading ingredients on all the packs felt some enthusiasm coming back in. And down the street, past grocery stores and trees and more – all a fresh sight to my eyes until got to a corner where i had been before.

I realized i was happier then i had been in a few days. the street served as a reminder that there is always more to explore, and discoveries no matter how small are available everyday. although a cloud may come to my eyes, with that feeling of ennui, i have not seen or experienced everything. Sometimes you do not need to journey far, but to just step out in a slightly different direction, or onto an adjacent path, for your enthusiasm to be awakened again. For a walk through the landscape of the city, is like a walk through your own mind – at times you need to break out and explore some unfamiliar territory. it might just be a short meander, that brings you back to where you know, but you see it all in a different light. It could be the beginning of a new path, or it might just be a temporary change. Sometimes your mind can shift, as you stumble upon something you forgot was there , like the Fred Meyers store, but other times you need a  to catch your eye.

I walked down Pike, on blocks i had not been before, and realized there was more to Capitol Hill than i had seen on my previous forays, generally walking familiar streets. (though the streets that are familiar were once unknown to me). I found the Value Village thrift shop i had not found and had meant to check out. I said i didn’t feel like shopping but went on in, and am so happy i did. I found quality shoes in my size, that i desperately need a pair of slip on clogs to replace the ripped running shoes and a pair of sandals to replace those whose soles are coming apart despite all the glue, and a pair of pants that fit to replace the cords i have with the waft mainly gone. I went to another grocery store, large and reasonable priced (unlike the one downtown), bought some dinner, and felt like a new woman for a while. Yes, a little stretch of the boundaries can do one some good, and i know it was not necessarily the street per se, but that i had taken a step out of the zone i had been in.

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I had forgotten about the depression i had felt in this zone – the memory of its intensity slipped away and now it has come crushing back, holding on deep. I remember the way I often felt here before, not only the deep spiraled down weeks, but how low my base mood often was. As i write this i know that it is not only here that i have felt this way, but the grey and the chill hang onto me and i wonder if this region was really any good for me. I know i have come back time and time again, but i have also left just as many times as i had arrived.

There are so many thoughts and emotions caught up in this place, feelings that i had forgotten about. The details are still blank to me, but this deep feeling has returned. when i got to harbin about a month ago i know people said my face had changed, and now i feel it changing again, and i do not like what i see.

And that is part of the problem; i do not like what i see. But how much of it is the place, and how much is it me. Seattle has never been my favorite place, i down right disliked for a long while. Slowly i warmed up to it, but those were the last two times where i only planned to pass on through. And that is what i am doing this time.

I ’m no longer sure why I came up here, except as a stepping off point. Port Townsend and Alaska had both been in my mind, and i head off to the former tomorrow a destination planned long before i arrived.

I didn’t come back up to Seattle per se, and I’m not sure why I stay here so long. Part of it always is with what I wish to avoid. And it’s funny that i find myself in exactly the element i did not want to return to in San Francisco in the downtown hostel and i am now many miles away. I am in a hostel, one that i liked before, but in the centre of town with the noise and buzz. The hostel too, is somewhat depressing, but there is more interaction here, i have chatted with a few of my dorm mates, a long conversation yesterday, and with some at dinner the other night. But i have met more in the smoking room, the underbelly of this place for it is dark in there, not only with cigarette smoke but with alcohol and drugs and people who seem to be wasting their lives. And maybe that is why i find myself there, and why i pull away – so many fascinating stories of lives and dreams, some similar to my own. And so many seemingly broken down. I am not as lonely here, but i don’t always like who i see in the mirror. I imagine i am on a ship in my bed, with its curtains around. The vibrations of the city get to me.

Part of me came on the way to Port Townsend, the place where i will go tomorrow. It has called back and forth over the years, so i cannot judge this process until i see what happens there. It has been a place of dreams, a nice small town that seems to work, with arts and culture and nature too, but a place i never felt i could stay.

And i also thought of Alaska, that mysterious inside passage up the coast which I’m certain is in a world of its own. But the more i see Alaska is not where to go, but with the amount of energy invested in it, it is still a place that i might end up. Several are here in the hostel on their ways up there, poor uneducated southerners going to work on the fish processing boats, 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for cents more an hour than minimum wage. The overtime and living on the ship is how they can take their earnings home with them. And when i think of Alaska i think of selling poison at the convenience store and living in my tent in the rain and blow drying socks and shoes in the public bathroom. It too has beauty, and at times i was alive, but i know that summer, something in me died. i learned many lessons i still value and hang on to a few casual friends, but i do not believe it is something i want to experience again

On my way up here, and as i was writing before, i realized that the north is where i have more often gone when i have felt the need to run and hide and given up on other dreams. And come to think of it, this area in general is where i gave up on many dreams, and ran back to when i did not know where to go. Its beauty seductive in a nurturing way, but it is also a place that closed on in and a place where i spent much time wandering lost. And maybe that is why this depression comes on, an emotion i have felt here so many times before, and while I am not conscious of it when i plan to come, buried inside it is the most profound memory.

And that voice comes back, just give up on your dreams, who were you to imagine that you ever could. Tears run down my face and snot drips onto the keyboard, and i can’t help feeling that maybe they were right. I have died inside so many times, and i have survived all right, but the body is more worn and all is ragged, and do i just give up the fight, for that is how it has felt so much of my life, a fight to preserve the integrity of that light inside.

i now remember saying i was a survivor as i sat doing phone surveys in Vancouver so many years ago, my university diploma and dreams set aside, and i walking in the rain with teary vacant eyes. i remember sitting looking at the want ads and trying so desperately to find something that called to me, and doing temp office jobs oh so badly. And i think of Victoria, going back there, finally working for minimum wage, the roommate who told me not to dream, and going into that employment office day after day staring blankly at the screen.

And i think of all those broken dreams and i wonder what brought me back here again. is it because my situation is so desperate, that it is time to give up on the dream, but i see all those empty and cracked shells of people on the street and i can let it go again. For i am empty now, and though this is self indulgent crap, for the moment it is all that i have. Is it the throwing away the dream time after time, or is the clinging on to what thin threads that remained, that has brought me to this place once again. And i feel the sadness and i feel the tears, and the heaviness and emptiness i carried with me all these years. I said that my memories of these places were gone, but as i write they come up again. And can i write them through.

Am i like one of those who passed through this place on the way to the gold rush trail? I say to myself my dreams are not of gold, but they are of somehow doing something in the world. but the truth be told, the way i have lived, i would have never made it up there. I would have been one of the many who turned back disappointed and broke. And is it false gold that i chase, and why do i have to venture so far o fail to find what i am looking for and to find that the true gold is contained within.

And maybe it is the rain that brings these memories up, and maybe it is the denseness of energy here that keeps them in place. At first i thought that it was this city itself, but now i see that it is so much more. But while my memories of this place are few,

The first time i arrived here in 1986 was on the Green Tortoise bus though there was no hostel here at the time. It was late night, after dark and we arrived in a deserted parking lot. I went to the YMCA/YWCA downtown in the office building zone. The streets were deserted beneath the closed tall buildings, only a few sleeping on the street, and i felt alone and a bit afraid, feeling that no one would be around if i needed to yell for help. It was the first time i had been in an empty core of a city, and i wanted to get out. I know i only stayed a day or two and then made my way up to Victoria or Vancouver for the first time and come to think of it, i saw the beauty and felt out of place and hurried on away from there.

I returned again in 1988, and hostelling international had opened a hostel down the steps right near here in pikes place market. I had been in Victoria after a summer in Banff and had wandered a bit on Vancouver island, in the rain in Nanaimo, and felt depressed and lost. I wanted to return to the east on the green tortoise bus, but i had my dates mixed up and found that the last bus out had left a few days before. The stairs down to the hostel were narrow and dark and i wondered who might be lurking there. Went on a tour to mount rainier, but never saw the mountain beneath the clouds. Went out and saw a film on Da Vinci in the university district, felt the neighborhoods here in the west so spread out. Made my way back up to Victoria and headed back east via prince Rupert and PEI, only to return to Vancouver several months later even sadder than before. the dreams of my university days and writing a book were long gone by then.

I did not come to this coast for years, but passed through the city on my way up to Vancouver in 2001. I was running back north after 9/11 and had a few hours after a 24-hour greyhound ride up from san Francisco on a completely full bus. i stepped outside to get a coffee and did not know where to go. I saw some people on the way to work with starbucks cups in their hands, i tried to ask where the starbucks was, but seeing the pack on my back no one would respond. i was much more clean cut then and my travel clothes were new, but i will never forget the looks of horror, contempt and fear that were directed at me that day.

I stayed here for a week or two a couple years ago. But then again by the time i arrived i had given up on my dreams, of writing, of walking a pilgrimage towards god, of finding a place where i could be. I was so lost then, that i no longer knew what they were. I had told myself the previous fall that i would go up to Alaska, which had once been a forbidden dream (another version of the story yet to be told), if i still was wandering by spring. Spring came around and up there i went, though in my time here in Seattle i discovered many museums on free days, and walked around the different neighborhoods, and found that this place was not all gloom – but it did not leave a positive impression on me.

But it is not Seattle i came back to, but this area in general. For the northwest has called me back time and time again, and each time i have found the heaviness waiting here for me. And have i clung to it, or has it clung to me, and it is time to leave the clinging behind. And it’s funny I no longer have any desire to return to Canada. Seattle is more on the BC back packer trail and leaflets and signs for hostels on Vancouver Island and the mainland abound. Though I have been to many of them, the memories have faded away. Perhaps not the memories but the clinging that held me on. For except when i sit and write, i have not felt a strong emotion towards the place, though i have visualized Vancouver in the sun, And maybe, just maybe, i have let that phase of my life go – not with anger, not with remorse, but just as something that was. For all my experiences there, the happy and the sad, the connections made and those let go, have helped make me who i am today. And if nothing else, i came to appreciate the nature around – the forests, mountains and the seas, and the powerful spirits that live there.

And did i need to come back here to tell the story that i wished to tell, and being here i tell a very different story than if i had written it from away. For often i remember the sun and forget the grey. And the grey was so real for me, and i know i cannot just push it away, but i can be like the colour no more.

I was tempted to go for a moment to Seaside on my way back up here, but did not want to bring forth the energies of that place, for they were heavy too. I hesitated and then said to myself, i do not need to relive the memories there, and I can leave them behind. But as i have sunk into this rainy zone i thought of one story that i wish to share.

I think though of a woman i met last time i was there, i was still feeling the high of harbin through i had been brought down some in Eugene. She was lonely and began to tell me her story, how she had stopped drinking a year before and then her life basically went to hell. She had an accident broke her hip, never really fixed and lost her place in the process. I let her go on and on at first, feeling that she just needed to let it out. but on and on and on it went until i could be around her no more, my energy drained away. For the story became one long constant whine and more self-pitying ever day. And for a while, that story became her life.

it got me to thinking while we need to speak out to let the energy process through, not hold it within and let it stagnate and grow (like the energy does in the northwest) and at what point does that story become itself, and feeds the negative energy within.. And in my telling of my sadness here, what process am i feeding through. And can we transmute that energy within or do we need a light to shine on us. And i think that is here on the coast, that the cycle becomes intensified, fewer places for it to sweep out. And as I write this story, I think I feed it too. For this is part of my story, and one of the lens i filter much through but i must remember it is only a part and there are other lens with which to see. And i realize the story effects what i see and helps perpetuate itself.

The last time i was here was but for a day, in late May on my way from Indralaya on Orcas Island down to Harbin in California. The gloom and rain and all so much more had brought me down up there, or maybe it was in the thickness of the air; energies returned to me and could not be shaken off and i knew i had to return down south. I had come from port townsend, a place that i love but i had to journey on. It was a hot sunny time at the end of May, and i felt the joy in this place. I had been out in the country for such a long time, and the diversity of the place sung to me, I went up to the area around capitol hill, to find groceries and a bite to eat. the sun was shining and all felt alive, sitting in a park where people and dogs played and the streets were full of life. And it is funny, because that was the main memory i had when i came back up here this time.

And i listen to the rain outside.

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Sun shines today. A circle of bright blue over the city center surrounded by clouds. They are heavy and dark. Despite the strong wind that blows through, they do not seem to have moved. The threaten, but have not opened up, yet.

I awake in the morning and see the blue sky. rejoice and hurry up to get out and meet the day, no lingering inside for me. The air is cold, the wind has a bite. I look up there, see the gloom, and wonder how temporary this reprieve will be. For rain is what the weather predictions all say. I grab a coffee and sit in the parkette, a brief patch of sun before the storm blows in. I wish to walk out to the place where the plants do grow and people really live, but the clouds are heaviest over there and i fear that i will get caught in the rain. I turn back, pace around,

i walk out again along the water front. Water is choppy today with white caps on small bumpy waves. The plants are smaller, not protected from the wind, or the salt in the sea air. A huge cruise ship is in the port, larger than most of the buildings that surround. On its way to Alaska, but that no longer appeals to me. Ferries go back and forth, and the Victoria Clipper pulls in. I stare at the snow-capped mountains to the north, and realize i have lost all interest in returning there. I feel the breeze and remember the chill. Though i have been thinking of alaska since i came back to this country, i believe that it, and all that lay north, is a part of my life to be left behind. A feeling that has come back so many times, though when i came up here it was still in the back of my mind. I walk past the huge grain elevator and out down to the shipyard full of commercial ships to transport goods and to catch and process the fish.

This park is cut off from the city above, and even the buildings down below, by the impassable railroad tracks and the tall fence. The park is a strip of green, with a few benches to pause and a path to cycle and jog or walk along. I am in another place where people pass through, at one end the cruise ship and ferry terminals, and at the other, the ship yard. Neighbourhoods lay above, on top of hills with steep rocky sides. I must cross an inlet to reach one, on a long busy bridge in the wind. And i do not see a road going up the other that lay on this side of the bridge, only fast avenue that circles around the base. I sit for a minute in the bright sun, though the wind that blows fast hurries me along.

I am in a port, where all come and go, a place that people and goods journey from and return back to, passing through. I did not go to the place where people invest their lives, and i am disappointed that i find myself wandering here. Stuck between the zones once again, no longer desiring to sail away and look at why i found myself here. I turn back along the shore, do not continue on the path through industrial zone, and find myself in the center of town, that dark place i do not wish to be. The sun still shines overhead, and the clouds still loom around. I am tired now from my walk along the shore, but still wander the center more, loosing track of what is important, revisiting that dark zone, walking up and down shadow covered streets. Losing the light i had on the path and feeling to exhausted to walk out the other way. I sit inside and the sun does shine. I never made it to the other places i wished to go (though i later heard it rained there)

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I have entered the dark zone. Concrete covers the earth. Clouds hide away the sun. Pikes Place Market bustles with life, food abounds but i cannot eat. tulips sell for $1 stem and bouquets are $5 and for a moment i smile. I have returned to tourist zone as out of towners crowd the aisles and look on. I walk to a parkette nearby with a view of the bay with people snapping photos and others, downtrodden, sleeping on the bench. I turn and look back at the tall buildings, and feel something evil and foreboding there.

Cars whiz by on the highway below. It cuts of the centre from the waterfront and the neighbourhoods that surround. That multi-lane road of traffic circles the downtown and tourist core acting as a barrier to the other life and trapping the dark energies inside. The sound does not cease. It feels like a barricade, like one of those walls in medieval towns, or a moat around a castle. And the castle is rotting and i am trapped inside.

The centre of town feels dark.Nobody lives here, just people passing through.On a saturday, tall buildings stand empty. The sky is grey. I feel trapped. I do not want to enter the commercial zone with shopping malls and chain stores. The tourist zones twinkle but all feels false. So much grunge around in other directions, shabby men hunkered down and the street kids with dogs. Big attitudes talking trash, dressed in cheap clothes wait at the bus stops on the decaying transit mall. A hustle of sorts in the streets. And i want to escape feeling something foreboding lingering here. I walk down the stairs to the waterfront which looks a lot like fisherman’s wharf but without the charm. The highway sounds above high above, fast-moving tires on concrete, and cars streaming by. I go back up to the market full with life, but it too feels transient, and i feel the grunge lingering beneath.

I wish to go beyond, to another zone, this centre feels so dark. My energy becomes heavy and starts to gather in my joints. there is something wrong here – something i have felt before. And i remember life lies beyond. The sky threatens rain, but i walk under that highway the surrounds. I can cross through that barricade.

I breathe deep and decide to walk on out, pass under bridge and to that zone on the waterfront beyond where the highway rises above. I cross that barricade. I made it though, my eyes change focus, all seems brighter and i smell the kelp. i see the hills and mountains that lay across the waters and begin to appreciate the shape of the clouds that form the roof over my head. My energy activates and i feel more alive. I smile at the dogs, and i think they smile back at me. Still, i stay in the centre and return back there. But i have crossed outside, and i know i can cross back out again.

I return to my room and am agitated but sluggish inside. darkness surrounds. Drums beat outside and traffic hums around. A higher vibration than the mere gloom, but edgy, edgy, edgy. I feel the stagnation in my joints and my belly goes soft. I am restless wanting to break outside but it is late at night.

It is sunday morning. I walk outside and through the deadening commercial downtown zone on almost the empty street, past stores just opening and cold hard-edged buildings and cross the bridge. I cross the bridge over the highway that circles this darkened zone, and slowly make my way to a better place where life seems more real.

At first the change feels subtle with lower buildings, independent stores and some edgy folk. Again i feel like i am in bit of twilight zone. I pass a park, and turn onto a side street with apartments and homes, a place where people live. I notice the plants and the trees and the few people who walk around. It feels so green, so lush, the flowers are showy and bright. I enter a park where life blooms full, and come to life again. A change comes over me. And i feel that this is a zone where i would like to be.

But then i make my way back to the centre to the place where i do stay. My mood changes as i re-enter this zone. The life that pulsed through my veins slows down, and the smile slowly disappears from my face. I wonder why i keep coming back here. This darkened zone that draws me back is the same zone as at city centre hostel in SFO, and i have found myself wandering these areas in many places a long time ago. It closes in and it cloys but i now know that i can cross the bridges or the waters and leave here anytime. But i also must move through this zone for it has its tentacles in me, and i find myself returning again and again – to different locales but to the familiar zone. The barricade is an illusion though it might be filled with rushing cars, and i can find my way across.

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I walk along the street by Pikes Place Market. I feel as if this is all a dream, an illusion of my mind. Somehow all does not seem quite real, but fuzzy and hazy like the day. It feels like a bubble floating in space with the container made by the low clouds. The air is heavy, all moves more slow. I feel like i am in twilight zone. Maybe it is because that is the colour of the day, but i feel that i have entered another space. A fog merely created by my eyes.

Clouds loom low. Air is dense  – I feel like i am pushing through its thickness. All is unreal though i walk on the sidewalk, people pass by, clearer and crisper than the rest, tangible in 3D and i hear the sounds of cars. The buildings and more seem untouchable like a backdrop to a stage, only as dense as the air around. And time moves so slow.

I enter into a zone of darkness and another life. In some ways feel like i have returned to a nightmare. It is similar to the what happened in Yosemite, but the mood is oh so different.  I have returned to another dream – left one behind, and now find myself here, slower, and thicker i push through the air. For as i leave one zone, and enter another, i remember only fragments of that which lay before; like waking up in the morning and remembering bits and pieces of your night dream.

And i wonder i all is really an illusion, a fragment of my mind. The aborigines have said that life is but a dream, and in some eastern philophies all is maya, a grand illusion and more and more that is the way it feels to me. Something i have created, a lens i have made up, all around just a physical manifestation of my mind.

I wonder if i am not a “ghost” ,if i am really here, if i have passed on and cannot let go, if all is an illusion in my eyes. If i am but a soul left behind. The moment has the quality of the motion pictures when a ghost shuffles by or one enters another zone, And for a moment i wonder if this is so. And am i just going through visiting places of my life, a type of purgatory where the visions seem so real. Or maybe why these visions come more and more to me, is that i am getting ready to leave.

And maybe we all are “ghosts” souls from somewhere else, just visiting here in a nightdream of a much longer day. And are the different parts and places of my life, which sometimes seem so disconnected, but parts of different ongoing dreams.

As i type this i have stepped out of that space, sit inside, where all feels material and i know that in this life on earth there are real material things – food to quench my hunger, money to live and the dampness that enters my bones. And although i have once again returned to this plane, will i ever truly see the world the same again. For i have tasted this before, and pushed it aside, but these revelations, i can no longer deny.

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