Saturday, March 15, 2008

Where the streets are lined with gold. . .

With my mother in town for the weekend, we decided to take a trip up to Seattle for a night. And, having never before been, I was at least mildly excited about it.

Our hotel was located two blocks from the space needle, and, I was assured, only a short walk to Pike's Market. Being a foodie, and gluttonous whore, Pike's was the only real stop on my agenda whilst in the city. So we deposited our belongings at the hotel, and happily began our voyage.

As each street we walked seemed to steadily, drastically, and frighteningly increase in downward incline, I found myself already dreading our walk home, and for several blocks began to grow bitter about abandoning my car. But I caught myself. Why ruin my whole day, just because the latter portion of it may or may not be unpleasant? I decided to make a conscious effort to remain in the moment, and to really experience each new second in this beautiful new city.

The wind was cold, and the misty rain was an inconvenience, yes, but still, I was determined to choose to enjoy myself. After walking blocks and blocks and blocks in the wrong direction, however, what had began as a brief, leisurely stroll, slowly disintegrated into little more than a Dickensian death march. Morphing my enlightened, positive, optimistic new outlook into bitterness, anger, and deep, profound annoyance. Cold, hungry, seething, and exhausted, we finally arrived at our destination. And, surprisingly, ever so slightly, I could feel my mood begin to lift.

(To know me at all, is to know that I love markets. I dream of little more than traveling to India, Morocco, Madrid, Provence, and the tiniest villages in Italy just to wander aimlessly in the vast open market places. To be enveloped by the aromas of exotic spices, and overwhelmed by the vivid colors of the produce and flowers, to really, genuinely experience life in each new place.)

Still consumed by bitterness, I was still viewing the world through filthy brown lenses, and somehow now became equally determined not to have a good time. And so, I walked past each vendor, unimpressed, bored even, with an air of superiority about me. Had this really been worth all of the physical anguish and turmoil? Yet another, of many, recent disappointments?

As we stepped out onto the street and into the light, suddenly, all around me, everywhere, hundreds, thousands, possibly tens of thousands of daffodils. Every roof top for blocks in each direction lined with overflowing planters, every booth, nearly toppling under the weight of their huge vibrant yellow bouquets. I was taken aback, overwhelmed by their loveliness. And, for the briefest moment, the whole world began to slow.

I was suddenly so aware of the wonder of the universe, that beauty such as this is even possible, its design so perfect, so effortless, such flawless, unquestionable goodness. And I was overwhelmed. Thinking of it even now I get a little teary. For in that moment, that split second in time, when the world around me melted away, standing among the daffodils, I remembered, what real happiness felt like. That joy still remains somewhere inside of me left untapped. That the world itself is still alive with possibilities, overabundant goodness to be had, if only we choose to see it.

A very dear friend once explained to me that "daffodils are the happiest of all the flowers." And, finally, years later, I think I understand what she meant.

On the walk back, I got three blisters on my feet.


Cheyenne said...

"...and the grinch's heart grew three sizes that day."

gabrielle said...

oh darling darling, jacob! what joy this entry brings me! all those lovely lovely daffodils of happiness!

B Kinch said...

Did you go to the original Starbucks? What did you eat, in detail? Do you know that the public transportation in downtown/p place/pioneer square/the piers is free and convenient? Ok dear, the thing is, you MUST go to the Elliot Bay Book Company, and have a pecan tart with a grande latte. You must. I will drive you there myself. It's my favorite food in all the earth. HEY! I know! You should help chaperon our homeschool Seattle train trip this fall :)

Jacob Blankenship said...

I did go to the origional starbucks, and it is SO very different from the cookie cutter, upscale, yuppie brand that it begot.
I did know the transportation was free and convenient, but my comrades on this specific trip were not, shall we say, enlightened to the endless wonder that is public transportation.
Alas, I am allergic to pecans, but I can make a shortbread crusted pecan bar that would make you sass your mamma!
Lastly, me with children, on a train? Have we met?