Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Of mountains and mothers.

In Tangents, writing on May 12, 2013 at 12:19 am


I shot this photo of Mount Rainier from the back of a Bainbridge Island ferry on Sunday morning.

I’ve been to Seattle about six or seven times since my first visit during a cross-country trip in 1994, and I’ve never forgotten how the locals talk about “The Mountain” (it’s capitalized that way in my head) with a mixture of reverence and familiarity. The weather – and locals’ psyches – seems to be measured by how clearly you can see The Mountain.

I spent six days in Seattle at the beginning of this month, and I can’t imagine six more perfect weather days in the Pacific Northwest, especially given that my friends who live there insist that summer warmth doesn’t truly arrive until July.

The Mountain was truly spectacular during my stay, and I don’t use that word lightly or often. I told the friend I was traveling with that we must have been “living right,” as some Southern relative used to say, to get such perfection.

One night, I got together with a book club friend who moved to Seattle grudgingly two years ago when her husband’s job took them there. Now, she said, she was struggling with the idea of moving back to North Carolina; she reeled off a list of things she loved about Seattle, naming most of the things I would expect (natural beauty, endless things to do, schools, attitudes, etc.).

She finished the list with The Mountain. “I have this sort of odd connection to it,” she said. “I can’t really explain it…”  She trailed off, seeming a little embarrassed.

But I understood, and I’d likely feel the same way.

I’ve been wanting to post this photo of The Mountain everywhere and was trying to figure out how to shoehorn it into this blog. I decided that Mother’s Day was just the right day to post it here, as my personal “Mountain” for 48-plus years has been my mom.

It may sound over-the-top hokey as metaphors go, but whether I can see her or not, knowing my mom is at the other end of a phone line or a road trip has given me the sort of strength and calm my Seattle transplant friend seems to draw from The Mountain.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

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