Jogging to Start the Weekend

The sun rises, and I jog 10 kilometers through Eastside suburban parks, with sparrows ground feeding and flitting about in a morning mist. In Bellevue’s Ardmore Park, laminated signs admonish the visitor to listen for the hoot of a nesting owl.  If it’s screeching defensively and nervous for its young, joggers and dog walkers should turn around to cede the park to its wildlife.  I’ve only seen and heard the owl once, and not this morning.

Eating healthy, local, organic

Organic, fresh breads, homemade jam, and Washington seasonal fruits await me for breakfast.  Out my window, the sun has risen. It’ll be a cool but lovely November morning.

Studying ethics and the environment with friends

Two weeks after a crazed gunman shot up a Temple in Pennsylvania, murdering a minion of Sabbath worshipers, I visit my local temple’s Torah study class to ponder the book of Jeremiah.  Again the Jews sinned and were punished and exiled. “By the rivers of Babylon… There we wept… when we remembered Zion.” Is there any environmental message? Maybe: Before an industrial age, even exile and punishment were filled with apparently bounteous rivers and wilderness.  Now, we have roving Mafias, desertification, and caravans of desperation… After an hour, I return home by bicycle and thank a Bellevue policeman guarding the door, on patrol and armed to prevent copycat hate crimes.

Simultaneously my wife has taken local breads as gifts to Citizen Climate Lobby (find twenty local chapters here), a lobbying group seeking to limit carbon use.  The organization’s community volunteers, activists, and educators are regrouping after massive oil companies again averted any financial responsibility for their pollution in the 2018 elections.  Environmental groups like CCL were outspent to defeat an initiative seeking to limit the use of their climate-changing bi-products. Big oil promoted a message that an ounce of prevention was not, in fact, worth a pound of cure.  This lamentable decision had been preceded by one of the hottest, driest, most polluting seasons of conflagrations that Washington State has ever seen. It was followed by a sudden, deadly spread of a wildfire that killed dozens and destroyed most of a Northern California town called Paradise…

Photographing Autumn Colors

After studying, organizing, and regrouping, time for a romantic walk.  I take a footpath through the Microsoft campus (plans to update and expand that are here) and Redmond’s Idlewood Beach Park.  These suburban parks and nearby safe streets offer another five miles of exercise during high season for fall colors. We pass Microsoft’s whimsical, handicap-accessible meeting room in a wooden tree house.  Adjacent to that tree house, the giant software company has an unlocked kiosk with a free book exchange. There, I find Al Gore’s update to “Inconvenient Truth,” called “Inconvenient Sequel”. It’s a copy signed by Al Gore!  I’ll read it and drop it back in a week with another used paperback.

Further along the walk, we spot a speckled, bronze, adolescent flicker in a birch. And then stunning fall colors dazzle visitors in Idlewood Beach Park. Cormorants rest on a private dock near the endpoint of a Redmond stream. A freshwater, coastline repair initiative has aided native plants and natural salmon runs, but a cottonwood removal project is more controversial.  I snap a shot of a lone cormorant, on a boat docking post in Lake Sammamish.

Harvesting Backyard Veggies

Back home, we’re hungry after the exercise, and pick a family harvest of carrots, kale, collard greens, parsley, and sorrell from the backyard garden. All of that can be sauteed in olive oil, with garlic, onion, and fresh rosemary, accompanied by seasonal pumpkin bread from Redmond’s small, artisan, family-owned Midori Bakery.

Enjoying Performance Art at UW

After early dinner, we take our electric, Nissan Leaf — a zero emissions vehicle often selling for less than $10K when lightly used — to Meany Hall.  There, we see a performance of acrobatic hip hop dancers surrounded by walls of computerized holograms.  Compagnie Käfig (“Cage”), a revolutionary European, modern dance group performs “Pixel,” a graceful, athletic dancing and acrobatics routine you can briefly watch here.  With catchy back beats and a high-tech sound and light show, “Pixel” highlights the inundation of technology in our visual lives.  Their fantastic one-act show is somewhere between acrobatics, Alvin Ailey, Cirque du Soleil, and a street artist’s urban dance.

Back home, journal notes to post, exhaustion, and sleep between all cotton sheets, beneath an all-wool comforter, and on an all-natural latex mattress…