these trees shall be my books

Hundreds of jellyfish have been populating the waters by our city pier for the last few weeks. Seeing them made me realize that the membership I bought for the Seattle Aquarium was probably unnecessary. Why drive two or three hours to look at sea life in an aquarium when we are surrounded by it out here?

Of course, the aquarium does have much to offer. I took Nugget there last week when my sister was in Seattle for work and--although Nugget is still young enough to prefer the octopus statue he can climb on to the genuine octopus in the tank--I saw and learned a lot.

But I'm accustomed to thinking (citybred elitist that I am) that big cities are cornucopiae of opportunities for enriching exposure, in contrast to the barren wasteland outside them. The jellyfish reminded me that in many cases, cities offer an artificial experience of things that are part of everyday life elsewhere. Without the cost and crowds. Like the farming, port, and logging activities that go on around us all the time where we live now.

Every day we drive by front end loaders stacking logs on the waterfront for cranes to load onto hulking container ships. It's like a small boy paradise here, with trains, trucks, tractors, ships, and planes everywhere we look. One day while walking my dog on the beach, a seaplane landed nearby to drop someone off and then took off again, and then an otter nonchalantly crossed my path. Cities offer air shows and zoos and museums--and don't get me wrong, I miss those--well, not the air shows--but here, everyday life is just as rich.

No comments: