Suggested Listening (CTRL+Click to open in new window)
It’s winter in Seattle. The monorail hisses by above you, drawing your eye to the amorphous structure of the EMP Building, and up beyond it to the Space Needle itself. Passerby on the street barely notice you, though you imagine everyone knows what you are, for now, your identity is your own, unknown.
It’s almost the year 2010 in Seattle. The Great Recession has hit hard, crime is at an all-time high. Everyone knows someone whose car or house has been broken into lately, or has been mugged. Many storefronts are shuttered and closed. Whole apartment buildings gape empty, broken window-teeth out onto gray streets filled with worried people scurrying about.
The shelters are full. The clothes of children become threadbare. Here and there are cars on the street, or parked in alleys that hold small families huddled together for warmth.
The last remnants of the leaves of autumn crackle beneath your feet, as you catch a smile from an old woman who passes you. She reaches into her coin purse to pass a few coins to a homeless man with an outstretched cup. He smiles back at her, truly grateful for the moment of kindness from one who clearly had very little herself.
The smell of winter rain on asphault mixes with coffee from the cafe down the street, and the waft of fried food from a nearby fast food joint. There’s change in the air, as the New Year fast approaches.
As morning the sun peeks out from behind the iconic Space Needle and warms your skin, for a moment you feel a sense of hope. Maybe you have the power to chance things. There’s something within you that’s different. A gift, a curse – power, that perhaps you can turn to some good end.
A plane roars by far above, skimming the line between the grey clouds and the peek-a-boo-blue sky. Jet City. That’s what they used to call Seattle back when Boeing was the only real industry out here. People would look up in the sky and see hope in every aircraft above their heads.
Maybe it’s time for Seattle to look upward once more.