The Best Day of the Year

December 19, 2012

Macy's star shines over the Westlake carousel, Seattle

Macy’s star shines over the Westlake carousel, Seattle

Westlake Park with holiday lights

Westlake Park with holiday lights

“Gray skies and December lights are my idea of secret joy, and if there were a heaven, I would expect it to have a lowering violet-gray sky . . . and white lights on all the trees and the first flakes just falling, and it would always be December 19 — the best day of the year, school out, stores open late, Christmas a week away.”
— Adam Gopnik, Winter: Five Windows on the Season

I couldn’t resist using this quote, just perfect for December 19th.  In Winter: Five Windows on the Season, Gopnik explores the ways winter is a time of human warmth rather than the more ancient view of winter as a sign of our withdrawal from grace.  I especially liked the essay called “Romantic Winter,” a sentiment that could only arise after the invention of central heating!  “Winter’s persona changes with our perception of safety from it . . . The romance of winter is possible only when we have a warm, secure indoors to retreat to, and winter becomes a season to look at as much as one to live through.”

It’s true.  After a drizzly evening in downtown Seattle enjoying the festive lights, I was happy to return home to my warm, quilted bed!




The Blue Trees

May 15, 2012

The Blue Trees, Westlake Park, Seattle

One of the things on my “Life List” is to see and experience an  Andy Goldsworthy sculpture in its natural environment.  He is well-known for creating transient, ephemeral sculptures of natural materials that are designed to weather and disappear over time.

I’m not aware of any Andy Goldsworthy pieces in Seattle, but when I heard about Konstantin Dimopoulos’s Blue Trees, I made a special trip to downtown Seattle to see them.  Dimopoulos, an Australian artist, uses special environmentally-safe pigments to paint trees brilliant blue.  The color wears away over time, leaving the trees unharmed.  Dimopoulos has now made his way to Seattle, and has two installations in the area — at Westlake Park in the heart of downtown and along the Burke-Gilman trail in Kenmore.

Dimopoulos uses the startling blue to attract attention and awareness to the problem of global deforestation.  The blue is so unexpected, it does stop you in your tracks.  You might want to see these installations before they disappear.

The Blue Trees at Westlake Park

The Blue Trees

Blue tree with park benches

Blue Trees with park bench, Westlake Park

The Blue Trees at Westlake Park

"Strings of street lights" at Westlake Park, Seattle

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,
Dressed in holiday style.
In the air
There’s a feeling
Of Christmas  . . .
— from “Silver Bells” by Ray Evans

The colors and sounds of the holidays cheer our dark days of December.  Here are some photos from an evening in the city:

Lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle

Carolers in Nord Alley, Pioneer Square

Gingerbread Exhibit, Sheraton Hotel lobby

Carousel and Macy's star, Westlake Center

Santa photos behind the plate-glass window at Nordstrom's

Wish upon a star

“O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright.
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy Perfect Light.”
— from “We Three Kings of Orient Are” by the Reverend John Henry Hopkins