“Cities have always offered anonymity, variety, and conjunction, qualities best basked in by walking:  one does not have to go into the bakery or the fortune-teller’s, only to know that one might.  A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.”
— Rebecca Solnit, A History of Walking

Today I attended a workshop at the Seattle Public Library downtown, and I decided I would walk from my house.  It’s only 5-1/2 miles, but I had never before walked downtown to work.  I chose a direct route down Eastlake Avenue, which parallels the east shore of Lake Union.  The street does not run right along the water, but I got brief views at each intersection, where I could see down to the lake.  It was a clear, sunny day, but I walked on the shady side of the street and did not get too hot.

Here are some of the things I saw along the way:

Crossing I-5 on 45th Street NE. Heavy traffic going into downtown.

On clear days, Mount Rainier dominates the horizon.

Statue of Sadako and the thousand origami cranes near the University Bridge

After crossing the University Bridge, I could smell fresh bread from this bakery.

Rolled croissants, ready to rise

Fresh baguettes, Le Fournil Bakery

I kept passing these sidewalk plaques on Eastlake Ave E. They showed various microorganisms native to Lake Union. I learned later that they are the creation of artist Stacy Levy.

"The Vessel" by Ed Carpenter, a sculpture at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, South Lake Union

Reflections on the sidewalk from The Vessel sculpture

One of the figures from Akio Takamon's "Three Women" sculpture outside Whole Foods Market, South Lake Union

I arrived downtown after walking two hours.  I had an hour before my workshop started, so I decided to check out the Chihuly glass installations in public locations in downtown Seattle.

Persian glass installation by Dale Chihuly, on the mezzanine of the City Centre building on 5th Avenue

Detail from glass installation at City Centre

An installation of Flower Forms in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel

Detail of Chihuly's Flower Forms, Sheraton Hotel

One of two glass chandeliers by Dale Chihuly in Benaroya Hall

"Crystal Cascade" chandelier by Dale Chihuly

Detail of glass chandelier at Benaroya Hall

All too soon, it was time to report to work at the library.

Seattle Public Library, Central Branch downtown Seattle, designed by Rem Koolhaas

Interior, Seattle Public Library

Escalator, Seattle Public Library

Another escalator, Seattle Public Library

Shaped into a Vessel

July 11, 2010

The campus of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle is the setting for a large sculpture called “Vessel” by Ed Carpenter.  Beneath the metal frame are some benches that invite contemplation of the soaring space.

Vessel by Ed Carpenter

Looking up into blue infinity

Soaring like the spirit

A rainbow of colors caught in the metal grid

Colored reflections mark the surrounding space

As You Go Through Life
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
 
DON’T look for the flaws as you go through life;
 And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
 And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
 Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
 Than the spots on the sun abiding.
The current of life runs ever away
 To the bosom of God’s great ocean.
Don’t set your force ‘gainst the river’s course
 And think to alter its motion.
Don’t waste a curse on the universe—
 Remember it lived before you.
Don’t butt at the storm with your puny form,
 But bend and let it go o’er you.
The world will never adjust itself
 To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
 And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
 And go under at last in the wrestle;
The wiser man shapes into God’s plan
 As water shapes into a vessel.