Open Wounds


Oxygen Debt and Yoga Surplus

I love Seattle. It’s not New York, but I love it just the same.

I’ve been to Seattle three times now. The first time was after I finished the Peace Corps and I traveled up the west coast to Alaska then across the country to New York (a 6-month trip). I stayed in Seattle for 11 days, a few on Bainbridge Island at the home of a family friend, the rest at a Hostel.Elliot Bay Bookstore was in Pioneer Square – far from it’s present 10th avenue location. I travelled up to Juno by ferry from there and stayed north for a month afterwards. It was sunny six out of eleven days in Seattle, even though everyone swears to me it’s never sunny there.

The second time I was in Seattle it was for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals national conference and I stayed four days – mostly at the conference center but one afternoon we got a tour of some parks on the outskirts of the City by the sister of a colleague. It was sunny every day. A Seattle resident told me, “Yeah we love the summer but we all hate the winter. It rains every day and we don’t get much daylight as the days so much shorter up here. Everyone goes on antidepressants to get through to the spring.”

This third time in Seattle was for only three days, but I definitely made the most of them. I rained every day and I didn’t see the sun.

Four things I noticed this time about what I consider to be a unique and beautiful city include:

  1. This time I walked, bussed, and light-railed a good part of the city and it is oxygen-debt-in-the-thighs hilly. It is also hard to figure out the bus lines but the men in yellow make it all easier than it should be. “Just ask the men in yellow if you get lost,” the hotel manager told me. “They’ll help you find your way.”
  2. In the neighborhoods outside downtown there are a lot of runners – I mean a lot. They run alone, in pairs, and in packs. They run in the rain and mist.
  3. The city overall is pretty clean – now remember I’m from New York City which is not.
  4. There are a lot of yoga studios, massage and wellness centers. This could have been the neighborhood I was in but I don’t think so. This is a city relaxed with the concept of new age.
  5. Booksellers are friendly at the indies. This should go without saying but… it doesn’t. But I had three for three good experiences at indies and that was cool.