Loose ends in the PNW.
It’s been about two months since I visited Oregon and Washington. I’ve found it difficult to write about the trip and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I think it’s because I experienced a landscape shock, a place that felt ultimately familiar yet so foreign. It was an experience I can’t quite sum up or a story for which I cannot think of an ending.
And that’s okay.
Trying to write about an experience in a single narrative can seem fictitious to some degree. Like a movie plot line enhanced by spatial and temporal elements, transitions, or non-chronological narration... but I just want to paint a beautiful portrait of what I felt then and there.
So why is it so difficult to put words to?
The longer I explore my capacity for creation, the more I realize that I communicate most in visual mediums. I’ve enjoyed designing soundscapes and writing, but where I thrive most is providing visuals.
If I feel as though there are no words adequate enough, a concoction of shapes, light and color always does the trick.
This is how I felt visiting Washington and Oregon for the first time. Of all the places I’ve traveled to, this was the most comfortable for me/my personality. Whatever that means.
I guess that means I like cities tucked between forests, neighborhoods with hidden natural oasis to disappear into, off kilter culture, good food and coffee.
It also means that I didn’t want to leave. My idealized vision of the Pacific Northwest was unfortunately solidified. Maybe I just need to visit in the dead of winter to truly appreciate the temperate beauty of Southern California.
Seattle was fun for a day, but the rest of Washington blew my mind. It was like a whole other world. Snohomish was homey and inviting. For the few days we spent there with family, I work up early just to walk about the residential streets at first light and stare in amazement at the massive trees growing between houses without spectacle. It was so amazing to me.
On the way to Oregon I listened to Death Cab for Cutie nonstop wished the scenery didn’t have to be so temporary as it flew by outside the window.
The beaches I visited left a lot to be desired. I’ve been spoiled with the wide open and empty beaches in Humboldt and Santa Barbara. There were people everywhere and to be honest, Haystack rock is such a tired photo subject.
Ocean aside, this was mountain country. Nothing I’ve seen could amount to Mt Hood. The rivers might not have been flowing strong enough to provide the most majestic of water gushes, but the waterfalls were still stunning and plentiful.
Ending in Portland was bittersweet. I ate an abundance of good food (including a slice from Anthony Bourdain’s favorite pizza joint) and drank many variations of coffee. I even had the pleasure of meeting up with an old friend for a picnic lunch by the river on my last day.
I hope to return to visit family in Snohomish, backpack Mt Rainier, hike in the Olympic National Park, take a boat to some islands off the coast of WA, or maybe just spend more time drinking local brews with friends on Hawthorne.
There is no real resolution or ending. Just loose ends flowing into the next thing. But..
like I said, I’m a visual person. That’s why I’m turning this blog into a vlog that will be on YouTube channel under the same name Strange Cacti starting in January. I’ll share travel stories, ideas, and creative projects.
Rosewater Spotify playlist: bit.ly/rosewaterPNW
Turtledoves - Gingerlys, Chapel of Pines - Great Thunder/Waxahatchee, Burnt Norton / Interlude - Lana Del Rey, Wet Dream - Special Explosion, Water Over Sex - Lala Lala, Your Bruise - Death Cab for Cutie, With Smiles & Smiles & Smiles - Vincent Gallo, symbol - Adrianne Lenker, Time - Angelo de Augustine, Shedding Skin - Mutual Benefit, Eat Yourself - Goldfrapp, Soft - This is Napoleon?
<3 - Rach