Sounder Commuter Train between Tacoma and Seattle

On Thursday my friend Carol and I went to the Tacoma Art Museum and decided to make the journey more adventuresome by using only public transportation.  The Sounder Commuter Train runs twice in the morning and twice in late afternoon, during peak commuting times, between Seattle and Tacoma.  We didn’t want to spend too many hours in Tacoma during the middle of the day, so we decided to take the 594 bus from downtown Seattle to Tacoma ($3.00 fare), and then return on the Sounder.  This turned out to be a good plan for a fun day trip.

The 594 bus dropped us off on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma within a block of the Tacoma Art Museum.  The museum had a special 75-cent admission on Thursday in celebration of its 75th anniversary.  It is a gem of a museum, and the current exhibits featured Japanese woodblock prints, some Impressionist paintings, and “Mighty Tacoma:  A Photographic Portrait,” in addition to an ongoing exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass baskets.

Dale Chihuly's 40 Niijima glass floats on Stone Wave by Richard Rhodes, Tacoma Art Museum

Detail of one of Dale Chihuly's glass baskets

One of my favorite Japanese woodcut prints, Night Rain at Oyama by Tokokuni II, Tacoma Art Museum

Special photographic exhibit, Tacoma Art Museum

Mighty Tacoma: Photographic Portrait, Tacoma Art Museum

Interactive exhibit. The museum's photographer-in-residence took pictures of patrons to add to the Mighty Tacoma exhibit.

Picture Yourself Here, interactive exhibit, Tacoma Art Museum

A Tacoma artist-in-residence takes photographs of patrons for the exhibit.

After a delightful museum visit, Carol and I ate a leisurely lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, walked through the University of Washington Tacoma campus, and then caught the free link (light rail) from the museum district to the Tacoma Dome Station.  There we walked across the street to the Sounder station where we caught the commuter train back to Seattle ($4.75 fare).  We enjoyed a relaxed ride with the recurring sound of the train whistle reminding us that this was quite a different journey than driving down I-5.

The Sounder approaches the Tacoma depot.

Interior of the Sounder Commuter Train (free wi-fi, bathrooms, luggage racks)

Earthly Eternity

January 26, 2010

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt march, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
     — Rachel Carson

Standing in the presence of thousands of wintering snow geese, I certainly felt like I was witnessing part of a great, eternal cycle of life.  One’s spirit soars on the wings of these magnificent birds.

Snow geese in flight

Snow geese on the wing

Snow goose passes overhead

Snow geese uprising

Flock of snow geese

“. . . the wing bedlam of flocks rising from marshland roosts.”
     — William Fiennes, The Snow Geese

Here, woodcut artist Charles Beck captures the beauty of wintering snow geese.  You can see more of his woodcuts at

Charles Beck's woodcut print of Snow Geese