Seattle Sublime ~ Bloedell Reserve Pt. 1

Reportedly a favorite haunt of Martha Stewart, the Bloedell Reserve is one of those places that I secretly assumed would be a favorite moment of my Seattle trip, but whose anticipation I didn’t want to stir too much. (Too many movies and theatrical events have been ruined that way.) There was no need to worry, as this experience surpassed anything that ever took place on a stage or in a theater.

It began with a walk in the forest, and this forest is unlike anything the Northeast has to offer. Trees rocket into the sky, disappearing into the sun, ending beyond where the eye can see, in what I can only assume is some heavenly plane so grand mere humans couldn’t witness it.

The heart manages to simultaneously ache and soar when surrounded by such beauty – a glimpse of the sublime not saddened by any solitude, yet somehow pining to share it with another. I guess that’s being achieved now, but I did not know that then. The tricks of time and travel and subsequent writing.

A walk in the woods does much for the soul, and the founder of the Bloedell Reserve was very much aware of it. In fact, part of the reason for keeping it open to the public was to share the emotional health and happiness achieved after spending some time in the folds of the forest. A brush with nature and beauty has always proven a balm for most troubled moments, and it was this tranquility that I had traveled across the country to find.

Mossy stumps of fallen trees and wide swaths of ferns rolled off the soft, meandering path of bark mulch. Sunlight filtered through the lofty boughs of conifers, tiny moss spores and fairy seeds of fantastical tales drifted though the slanting rays, carried on the lightest puff of a breeze. This was magical land – lush, rich, tender and teaming with life. Just a few minutes into my walk, and my load already felt lighter, my heart fuller.

A pond, still and quiet, provided a place for a few ducks to rest and frolic. It reflected the blue sky, and the shadowy underside of leaves from a tree overhanging the water.

This is a world of transformation, where fallen logs become pathways or parts of more magnificent tableaux, where the minute and the immense happily co-exist beside one another.

Elements of the vertical mesh with the horizontal, trees rise out of other trees, and moss grows fat on almost every surface, not limited by any mythically-required northern exposure. The effect is gorgeous, and quite new for someone accustomed to the smaller scale and harsher climate of the Northeast.

At the edge of the forest, signs of humans.

A worn bench. A manicured lawn. A cultivated hydrangea.

In sunlight the color is almost obscene after the muted palette of the woods.

Then, appearing before the waterfront, a house: mirage-like and incongruous, and yet perfectly part of everything that came before, formal grooming and all…

Up next: the summer house…

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