Monday, March 19, 2007

road trip

Urban views 2
Originally uploaded by lasse22.
Lasse[1] shot this in Copenhagen (click through on the pic for a map), but it reminded me in an instant of Seattle's concrete highways, particularly the spot where 520 swoops past the Arboretum and becomes the Evergreen Floating Bridge (something about the coming Spring and the rising sap that's stirring old moments into memories that float tender and close to the surface. Not always optimal -- some of these trigger tremendous longing -- but what they hey, I'm letting them have their way).

Since I was a kid I've loved the concrete forms of Seattle's highways. Only once did I mention this out loud, and that was to my Bompa as we drove under and along them.

At the time I mentioned it, my Bompa and I knew each other the way any of us know family -- through mostly those things we've experienced together. I knew him always smiling, easy to hug, and smelling sweet of gin. I knew him setting the metronome and teaching me and my sister to play Heart and Soul (which he would so soon regret, because we took to it too readily and played it too much) on the lovely Steinway grand that lived just a small flight up from the spacious living room where we would push my toddler brothers on the wheeled ottoman at breakneck speed down the twisting hallways that serpentined through the house.

That was, until he spotted us and told us to stop (being the ogre, spoiling our fun) because he anticipated (correctly I believe) that we would soon crash through one of the tall glass panes that lined the hallway.

I didn't know then that he designed that house. I didn't know that he traded one of his clients legal work for that Steinway, at a loss, and that this was common for him -- that too often he took care of clients who couldn't take care of him. And I didn't know that he loved sweeping architectural forms and the way highways plot the progress of man so much that when the Alaskan Way Viaduct went up he took his young family, along with my small father, out for a day of driving -- back and forth and back and forth along the elevated roadway.

He said nothing about my observation, but I remember the moment clearly because I knew I had said something right when I gushed over that beautiful highway, by the smile and look of recognition that flashed across his face.

The way he looked at me then, like you look at an old friend.

viaduct with moon

[1] In his spare time, Lasse stacks wood.


Lasse said...

Great story! Glad you could use my photo.

anniemcq said...

What a treat. A story about your Bompa and a story about Seattle. Love it! Great photos, too. I love them both, and Lasse's actually made me go "ooooooh, niiiiiice".

Rahul said...

Dayna... as if being a great photographer wasn't enough... I love the way you write! You should absolutely consider writing some short stories. You've got the knack.

suttonhoo said...

hey thanks, man.

(does anybody read short stories anymore? I thought they were all trawling the blogs.) :D

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