I get really antsy sitting down all day. But last week was rainy, and the roads were too wet to rollerblade. So instead I walked around somewhere new each day.
I walked through the Seattle Art Museum. The museum had all kinds of exhibits: traditional Northwestern tribe art, glassworks, impressionist art, Islamic art, Japanese art, European art, Nigerian Art. The museum had paintings by famous artists, none of their best paintings, but representative of their work. There was a splatter-painted Pollock. There was one of Monet’s paintings of canoes. And there was a Rothko that actually used at least four distinct colors of paint. “What a radical departure!”, I thought. I must have seen at least five of his paintings and they are all a single stripe on another color. In each painting, I like the way the stripe fades in, and the overall mood that I get from the colors, but I was never a fan of his work. In my mind it is too simple, too easily reproducible.
I walked around the Bellevue Art Museum. There was a lot of art by local artists. Most of it lacked that certain timeless, genius quality. In fact, there was even an ordinary pair of leather boots on display. There were some clever wooden pieces, like this “Tank Chair”:
I was also impressed by Dan Webb’s birch sculptures. He carved birchwood into the shape of a pillow, a foil balloon, a draped tablecloth— it was amazing how he could make wood look fluid or soft.
I walked around the Bellevue Downtown Park, along reddish-pink gravel. The park’s ducks have grown accustomed to humans. One duck was standing by the edge of the waterfall area, scratching its head with its webbed foot like a dog. I squatted down and had a staring contest for a good minute, my eyes a foot away from the duck’s eyes, seeing the vibrant orange of its feet and brilliant deep royal blues of its feathers and all its various textures. Then an old man started feeding the ducks and the mallard ran off towards him.
I walked around Marymoor Park. First, I swung by the sturdy windmill. Then I walked along the river, through the off-leash dog park. There were a lot of dogs out. I smiled as I saw a group of dogs form a chain as they sniffed each other’s rears. Some dogs would approach me and lick my hands. If they were friendly I would pet them and scratch behind their ears. Then I walked through the Audobon Trail. To my delight, the trail lived up to its name, and I saw many birds. The trail has different sections, some purposefully maintained to preserve that ecosystem, like a prairie area where they mow the grass to prevent succession into forest. I walked through a trail of trees coated in emerald moss.
In the cottonwood trees along the Sammamish River, I saw birds roosting. At first I thought they were crows, but then when I saw them take flight, circle, and perch back on the tree, I realized they were great blue herons. I did not expect this; for some reason I assumed they nested on the ground by the river’s edge. They had built nests high up in the boughs. There were so many of them. In two trees, I counted at least twenty herons in each tree.
At the edge of the marsh area, the boardwalk jutted out into a lake. There was a beautiful view of Lake Sammamish.
I stared out at the lake for a few minutes. There was a flock of mallards floating near the left bank, and a gaggle of Canadian geese near the right bank. Suddenly, a pair of bald eagles appeared, with their white heads and lower plumes in sharp contrast to their darker feathers. One swooped down at the geese, the other at the ducks. The ducks and the geese flew away. I didn’t see the eagles catch any of them (do they even eat those birds?), I think the eagles were just harassing them. Then one of the eagles landed near the reeds by the right bank, while the other flew off out of sight. I stood there for a few minutes with an empty mind, staring out into the lake, then continued on my way.