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Archive for the ‘Washington State’ Category

Driving home from a friend’s house late the weekend before, I had to stop to get photos of a toasted cheddar moon and blazing red telluric Mars just above it. Little did I know that, courtesy of the fires raging in Washington, Oregon, and California, we soon wouldn’t be able to see the sky for a week or more.

The smoke began to funnel northward through the I5 corridor late in the week. At first it looked like fog. Then, on Saturday, September 12th, 2020, we woke up on an alien planet. It looked like Mars outside– yellow, hazy, dark, and foreboding.

This is the Edmonds ferry dock at Brackett’s Landing. The whole world looked like pea soup. You could barely see the ferry that had just left.

The ferry loomed like a ghost ship and was then sucked into a void. Normally you see an opposite shore. Today, there was nothing, just the edge of the world.

I zoomed in as the ferry plowed westward, but at best it seemed like an apparition in a sandstorm.

These photos have not been edited at all. This is how the beach actually looked that Saturday. You can see scuba divers coming in. I found it odd that people were still out diving, but does hazardous air quality affect visibility in the water enough for them to care?

Even the plants’ colors seemed off. Everything was saturated in this weird, otherworldly glow, like we had survived some nuclear horror and were slowly crawling out of our shelters afterwards.

As I snapped the photo of the famous orca, I mused how it appeared to be swimming in pollution. Then it hit me– how similar this is to the disgusting pollution our resident orcas live in. This is what we do to their world. This is a constant for them. Because we so callously pollute the water, each local orca could be considered a floating superfund site.

We used to rejoice when their babies were born. Now we just pray they survive the lack of traditional food sources and the industrial waste. They often don’t, and humanity goes on complaining about lack of entertainment during COVID, or rioting, or obsessing over the latest cosmetics, ignoring their cries.

I have stood here many times, but I’d never seen it look so foreign.

All day, no matter where I went in two counties, I noted an absence of birds. Far fewer birds than normal braved the rancid, tar-filled air. This crow and his seagull buddy foraged along the beach in tandem with few others in sight.

Yep. It was definitely Smoke Time.

Arriving at the north end of Lake Washington, this panorama seemed straight out of a sci fi movie. We were supposed to have temperatures nearing 80 degrees with near full sun, but last time I’d checked the temperature it was 58.

Walking out on the dock felt like walking out to the edge of a flat earth. You usually see land on all sides. Seattle, however, had disappeared. The middle of this scene had simply vanished. There was smoke, and then there was nothing.

Gazing down into the lake’s milfoil mass, I imagined one of those menacing merpeople from Harry Potter reaching up and grabbing me. No thanks.

These logs, although fixed, appeared to be swimming away from the yawing nothingness in the middle of the lake.

A gaggle of geese bobbed around like nothing was happening, the lighting exactly like the filters used to portray Mexico City in the movies. Ever notice that, that Mexico City always shows up in hazy brown or sepia tones on the big screen?

These old pilings looked like a pathway into another place or time.

Zooming in, no birds roosted here today. None flew through the air either. Aside from traffic noise, there was an eerie stillness.

One rebel Canada goose floated leisurely through the soup apart from the others.

As I was chatting with a local, we looked up and said, “what’s that?” It was the first time we’d seen the sun in a couple of days. It was a grapefruit-hued pinhole in the sky, barely piercing the blanketed glop of destruction.

The sun’s reflection in the water was just as bizarre.

At times there was a blush or rose color playing upon the undulating mocha of the lake.

While forecasters had originally said the smoke would start moving out earlier this week, that didn’t happen. The Seattle area was enveloped in a dense yellow fog again this morning… except it wasn’t fog. By afternoon we saw a bit of sunlight, prompting me to go to Juanita Beach in Kirkland to see what I could see.

Sure enough, there was the sun, sparkling down upon the latte-like lake. Yet it seemed to be a sun from John Carter, Pelelandra, or Tatooine.

The ducks were happy enough. But there were still no birds in the air.

It seemed like dusk, not afternoon.

Beyond the boardwalk there was just a fisherman and faux fog. No Seattle. No 520 bridge. Just empty space, because the west is on fire and we continue to pray for rain when there otherwise would have been summer through the end of September.

Smoke veils the air like souls in drifting suspension, declining the war’s insistence everyone move on.

Jayne Anne Phillips

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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The memorial to the fallen Bothell police officer continued to grow last week. Department employees and volunteers kept a watchful eye on it, removing spent flowers and pulling certain pieces to share with the officer’s family as more tributes arrived. Signs around the community show their support as well. The Yakima Fruit Market, espresso stands, Brooks Biddle, and grocery stores among others are boldly proclaiming their appreciation.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Last night a visit to the growing memorial to the Bothell police officer who was murdered resulted in the post You Matter. I visited the site again tonight and spent some quality time with both strangers and friends as we honored this brave man. The memorial continues to grow. People of all types continue to gather there to express appreciation to our area officers, including the officer who was wounded in this incident.

The world needs to see that the Northshore area respects, appreciates, and values the men and women who take great risks every day to keep the peace in our increasingly restless society.

Shortly after I arrived, the woman on the left burst into a beautiful operatic rendition of The Lord’s Prayer. It was another spontaneous moment that hushed onlookers and bowed reverent heads.

See her arms raised as she lifts her voice towards heaven…

A question has been asked at this site repeatedly: what can we do to show support like this on a regular basis? How do we ensure that they always feel that the majority is behind them?

Bothell’s chaplains are doing an amazing job. The support surrounding agencies are offering Bothell PD is phenomenal.

Note Matthew 5:9, above: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.


Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.

C.S. Lewis

The details of Officer Shoop’s murder are here. The circumstances of his death are horrifying. May peace blanket this agency and community.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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This morning the greater Seattle area woke up to learn that a Bothell police officer was killed in the line of duty and another was injured. No, no, no, no, no. There has been widespread animosity towards police in our nation lately and this is exactly what we didn’t want to happen.

Like many of us, I have friends and family in the profession. Officers face dangers and split second decisions that most of us never will. It sounds like a traffic stop turned deadly, leaving a family broken and grieving for the loss of a young man of solid character– who was also a veteran.

LEOs, I want you to see the outpouring of support for this officer and his department. At Bothell City Hall tonight, people of all creeds and colors poured in to leave flowers, signs, write messages in chalk on the pavement, cry, talk, and express their gratitude to Bothell PD. I was there for quite a while and adults and children came from all directions to show their support.

This coming together, this show of strength and unity, is being posted here to show you that in your town, you matter. Never mind the hate and the calls to strip your funding, we are still with you and you matter.

I noted that the candle here is called “Seeking Balance.”

This deputy came all the way from Whatcom County. He was graciously stopping to talk to kids and give them badges.

This was a remarkable moment. I was standing near Bothell’s PIO when I saw this man walk up and introduce himself. Captain Johnson thanked him for his service. The man explained that he had put on his uniform and driven to the memorial to play Amazing Grace. That he did. Then he quietly left.

Unbeknownst to the performer, a man sitting behind him on the stairs raised his hands in prayer as the song was played.

I left about 6 P.M. Just as many people were silently walking up to the memorial from all corners and leaving mementos as when I’d arrived. It’s the hottest day we’ve had this year so far and few seemed to notice. They stood, they sat, they hugged, from babies to wizened seniors. It was an astounding show of gratitude.

Out at the corner of 522 and 527, close to where the incident happened, a crowd of Blue Lives Matter supporters were demonstrating. Many, many drivers honked their horns as they went past.

The woman waving this flag is a retired deputy who has a child entering the profession. While she had a successful career and fully supports law enforcement, she expressed concerns about those following in her footsteps given the increasing dangers officers face.

Nowhere were those dangers more apparent than in downtown Bothell, Washington the night of July 13th, 2020.


Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, and who is neither tarnished nor afraid.

Raymond Chandler

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Independence Day 2020… the first Fourth of July in my lifetime without parades and fireworks and the usual community mingling. So imagine my delight when I learned of Lakeview of Kirkland’s drive-thru parade for their residents and seven veterans!

Lakeview is a senior living facility south of downtown Kirkland, Washington. Among their seven veterans are two World War II veterans– and I love those guys and gals. They have a twinkle to them and loads of character. So I put the word out and raced to Kirkland.

Upon arrival, I found employees directing traffic, flags everywhere, and a carefully socially distanced parking lot where Lakeview residents could sit far enough from the vehicles coming through but close enough to see them. I was thrilled to learn that one of their seven veterans is a female veteran.

After driving through and thoroughly enjoying the patriotic cheer from a generation that loves our country, I went up the road to rally the troops via cell phone so more people would atttend. As one car passed me, they dropped a flag in the middle of the roadway and didn’t stop. “Ironic!” I thought, because I couldn’t find my medium-sized flag earlier. So I pulled over and picked up that flag.

I’d seen Tim Hickey, a well-known Kirkland do-gooder, driving around earlier, and was standing near the entrance when he pulled in waving his flags. It was great to see a few other vehicles out on the road waving large flags today too. Seeing his campaign signs truly made it feel like the Fourth of July because it’s so very American to see candidates out and about on this day.

Unfortunately, some residents had already gone inside when I took these photos, but you can still get a general sense of the festive atmosphere.

I am not entirely sure what I captured in the above photo but it’s funny. Maybe the dog was singing the National Anthem.

These flag waving ladies were eager to see who (or what) else pulled into the parking lot. Right about this time a ridiculously cool vintage Porsche pulled in.

I had to zoom in because I was nowhere near the building, so was glad to get this shot of these America-loving, festive locals.

The decorations, distancing, and everything was spot on. One item that came up in conversation was the lack of participation from the larger community in traditional American holidays. That is exactly why we need community celebrations and parades– so our neighbors who aren’t American or are new to America can experience the joy of people of all political beliefs and faiths coming together to celebrate what we have in common.

The staff was friendly and attentive to residents.

Again, I didn’t want to get too close so was zooming in and snapping random photos.

They even decorated the sidewalk!

Yes, heroes do work at Lakeview. They worked hard to ensure that residents, especially veterans, still had a fun Fourth of July. Good job all!

After this I decided to hang the flag out the window as I traveled through several cities. A few people honked, just a small fraction of those I passed. If you watch people’s faces when they drive, a majority don’t seem to have good situational awareness. They’re either looking ahead, not turning their head right or left, and seem fairly oblivious to anything going on outside their vehicle. If they’re stopped, they’re often looking down. So I doubt many of them even noticed.

On that note, I decided that if we can’t have fairs and parades and fireworks, I was going to stir up some good old fashioned patriotic sentiment anyway. For over half an hour I stood at one of the area’s busiest intersections and waved the flag at cars going by. Here’s what I found:

  1. Some never looked anywhere but straight ahead or down, either oblivious or not wanting to make eye contact
  2. Some seemed embarrassed or sheepish, like young girls
  3. Many waved and honked, mostly couples, families, or those over 30
  4. Only one truck full of gross younger men yelled something obscene
  5. Pedestrians and bicyclists almost always said, “Happy 4th!” and waved
  6. Young employees in a nearby business came out in a group and cheered and waved
  7. A majority of passers by did not respond, but I was pleased by how many did

Earlier I’d seen an older man waving a small flag near a business I needed to stop at. I was going to tell him how much I appreciated that. As I got closer, I realized he was yelling, “Spare change? Spare change?” It brought me back to the original premise of today, that there are many seniors struggling right now. Even those who have a nice place to live may be severely lacking in opportunities to be joyful and connect with other human beings. So I’m greatly pleased that Lakeview hosted this well-orchestrated event that protected their residents while allowing them to party with their neighbors.

Happy 4th all! Feel free to go stand on a street corner and wave a flag yourself!


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Have you ever been driving along and are suddenly so awed by what you see rolling over you that you stop to take pictures?

I went eastward down a side street to capture the utter darkness of this immense cloud in Snohomish County tonight.

This inky denim-blackness looked like it was going to swallow the earth.

The clouds to the west were fluffier and friendlier, yet still moving like something was after them.

This was a truly ombre sky. It comes on the heels of a torrential rainstorm on Saturday night that snapped thick flower stalks and triggered small landslides.

It was not like this farther north. I must have been in the right place at the right time to see this massive conglomeration of cumulus clouds passing overhead like a vengeful mother ship.

The color has faded out of the sky. It is grey, becoming darker as the world turns herself round a little more. The clouds are long and black and ragged, like the wings of stormbattered dragons.

Keri Hulme

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Today is Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day. This is usually a big deal in Ballard, now considered a Seattle neighborhood that used to be (and still should be) its own entity. But thanks to the restrictions on free association and public gatherings, Syttende Mai is a silent affair this time around.

There’s no parade, no packed museum, none of the usual parties in the parking lots, yards, and bars around Ballard. After 130 years of proudly celebrating Norwegian heritage, this happy annual event is on hold. It was that long ago that my Norwegians came to the area. My great-grandmother, born soon after her parents arrived in this country, spoke Norwegian and I love honoring her family at Syttende Mai each year.

Per the National Nordic Museum, our local 17th of May Committee has still pulled off a virtual Syttende Mai. It starts within the hour… I hope that the museum and the committee are okay with me posting this information. I don’t see it on their websites; it came in email form. I’m assuming we still want as many people to participate as possible so am taking the chance of posting this part of the museum’s email online. If there are any objections please let me know.


From the museum:

Seattle’s 17th of May Committee has worked hard to bring several virtual ways to celebrate to our community! You can join them online for speeches, a concert, and a singalong on May 17th.
12pm—Speeches and Virtual Skål
With 17th of May Committee chair-person Anne-Lise Berger; Honorary Consul Viggo Forde; virtual grand marshal General Consul Jo Sletbak; His Majesty King Harald; Honorary Consul Viggo Ford, and more.
Link to join

1pm—Hardanger Concert
With The Norwegian American
Link to join

4pm—Syttende Mai Singalong
With Leif Erikson Lodge
Link to join 
(There is a meeting ID needed… I’m hesitant to publish this given the Zoom bombing going on. You might want to contact the lodge for log-in info.)

Share your at-home celebrations with Leif Erikson Lodge on Facebook!

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Midday I was tooling along in my motor car when I noticed a crude sign taped to a speed limit signpost in Kirkland’s Rose Hill neighborhood. I pulled over to investigate. Technically it shouldn’t be taped to this pole, but the cheery scrawl on the placard intrigued me.

From the mouths of babes… the best advice during times of crisis can come from children. Someone clearly worked hard on this flower-embellished sign. It advises passersby to be cool, stay good, home, be nice, stay. The overarching theme is to be and stay cool, good, and nice by staying home, although I love the “be cool, stay good” vibe.

Nearby was another sign that caught my attention. Its message was clear and heartfelt. Its beauty is in its simplicity.

Ultimately, these expressions of goodwill and gratitude help to ease each others fardels, which happens to be the word of the week on the outdoor whiteboard long stationed in the Highlands neighborhood.

To paraphrase George Eliot, what do we live for if not to assuage each others’ fardels?


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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For years I have been fascinated with the story of a goldfish that survived the April 29th, 1965 Puget Sound earthquake. This was a strong quake that one of my parents remembers vividly. They were just kids when it happened, and as a kid I remember marveling over their description of the strong jolts, groceries toppling, and the pavement in the parking lot of a Pierce County grocery store rising and falling in waves.

HistoryLink’s Alan Stein wrote a piece on this nearly 20 years ago which is posted below (click to see the explanatory newspaper photo). Given the local connection to Juanita Beach, and the fact that Wednesday is the 55th anniversary of the earthquake and the goldfish’s improbable survival, I’ve wanted to make this into a local festival. I asked around. No bites. And that was before COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

At minimum, I wanted to put this logo, with its upside down fish bowl, on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Kirkland needs to celebrate its history more as its high density development is swallowing up the past. We see cars with odes to Wall Drug, the world’s largest ball of string, and the Mystery Spot, so why not our Juanita Beach goldfish? Why not make this a thing? It’s especially salient with the renovations going on at the park right now. Much of the park is being completely redesigned.

If you live or work anywhere near Kirkland, raise a glass to the Pepple goldfish this Wednesday, April 29th, then turn it upside down quickly and see if you can get a seal. We really should celebrate something this memorable, this miraculous, this bizarre… especially at a time when we all need a really good party.


Goldfish survives bizarre earthquake experience on April 29, 1965.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 3/01/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3037

On April 29, 1965, a goldfish owned by Juanita resident Howard Pepple survives a strange experience. The glass bowl containing the fish flips off a 4-foot 8-inch bookcase, overturns, and lands on the floor upsidedown, forming a seal. When Mr. Pepple returns home, he finds the fish swimming complacently in its overturned domicile.

A Fish Story

Pepple, a caretaker at Juanita Beach Park, lived in an apartment above the park’s concession stand with his wife and fish. No one was home during the quake except the fish, so two hours after the temblor Mr. Pepple returned to assess any damage that may have occurred to their dwelling and possessions.

The object most out of place was the fishbowl. When the Pepples had left in the morning it had been sitting on a shelf, more than four feet above the floor. It was now lying upside down at ground level. Examining it further, Mr Pepple saw water inside. The fish swam within, oblivious to its current predicament.

Flipper

Investigators surmised that during the quake, the shelf swayed, and the bowl was knocked from its perch. It flipped end over end as it fell to the tiled floor. The soft tile, similar to lineoleum, softened the blow, and the mouth of the bowl landed perfectly flush with the floor. A seal formed which kept water (and fish) inside. Rocks which had been on the bottom of the glass domicile were on the floor, still within the fishbowl.

The local newspaper was alerted to this bizarre event and photos were taken. Pepple then inverted the bowl, returned it and its resident back to the shelf, and things returned back to normal in the Pepple household. All was well again in Juanita.


Sources: “Juanita Goldfish Swims After Quake Flips Bowl,” East Side Journal May 6, 1965, p. 1.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com except HistoryLink article, which is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution.

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This is the cottage I call the Feriton Fairy House. Where is Feriton, you may ask? It’s on Google Maps… right smack where the Google campus is in Kirkland, Washington. KirklandHistory.org has a well-researched explanation of why this area is called Feriton. Most Kirklanders are unaware of its historic name.

Located just north of the walking and biking trail through the heart of the city known as the Cross Kirkland Corridor, you can pass by and completely miss this gem built in 1945. The area is dominated by commercial and industrial sites from the CKC southward, and larger, more modern residential buildings on the other sides.

This is what you might see as you travel towards Houghton (PCC, Met Market, Northwest University) on 6th Street South.

Here is what you might glance at while traveling northward.

You might think it’s just a shack on property worth most of a million waiting to be swallowed up by another condo building. But stop for a moment. Look closer.

The closer you get, the more idyllic this setting becomes. The busy road and the bike lanes start fading away. You become aware of the tinkling water of a creek. You begin to marvel at the lush grounds and old trees.

Linger longer. Who lived here? What was its purpose? I’ve met the owner and know that he still cares for the place. There is nothing worth stealing, yet this little island of calm on the edge of downtown is priceless.

The Feriton Fairy House has seen better days. Yet it’s that worn, down home feel that lends itself to the fairy tale realm. You can weave many stories centered around this house. You can imagine a World War II veteran having lived there since he came back from France. You could conjure up a tale of three raccoons that live inside and argue over how to make the best buckwheat pancakes for their woodland neighbors. Perhaps a wise gnome in a blue cap lives there and only comes out in the moonlight.

Even when you’re walking by across the street it doesn’t seem like much.

Just cross the street, though, and you seem to be staring at a little slice of the shire. Imagine this without the fence, without the adjacent busy trail, without the sidewalk and sign. It seems like another time and place.

You’re standing in the middle of a city near the campus of a major corporation yet here is this splash of country. Follow the creek under the roadway and you’ll find a friendly willow and magnificent magnolia soaking up the hydration on the other side.

We often take one glance and keep moving. There is value in stopping, looking, breathing in, tuning the distractions out. We can fail to see great beauty when we pass by too quickly or stand too far off. It’s when we pause and explore, when we get a little closer, that we can find an oasis in the arduous busyness of life.

There’s no two-car garage here. No upper stories or pretentious balconies. The beauty here is in its simplicity. Standing on the edge of this property, while you’re drawn into the pastoral setting, you cross a threshold into a timeless state in which you realize this is what Kirkland once was.

May this cottage continue to stand as a monument to a simpler time when we wanted less and were grateful more.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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