Seattle: Verdant Paradise

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From the moment the mountains came into view – immense, majestic, deep purple and dark green – I was reminded of how magical Seattle can be. As The Delusional Grandeur Tour touched down in the Emerald City, I breathed in cedar-scented air and exhaled the confines of New England. There was an awe to the magnificence suddenly at hand, as stands of conifers stretched from the airport to the city, rising into the sky and looking more beautiful than the ragged pines that surround Albany.

I’d scheduled a few events and dinners in advance, and there would be a whale watch and a visit to the Bloedell Reserve (favorite spot of Martha Stewart) – along with a couple of ferry rides and a ‘Twin Peaks’ visit to Snowqualmie Falls. But I’m jumping ahead. On my first day in Seattle I wanted a quiet start.

Most great cities have some sort of conservatory, a place where greenery and flowers persist even in the face of winter or snow or ice. Washington has its Botanical Garden, Boston has its Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Seattle has this house of glass, a few steps away from the Asian Art Museum.

It was prime time for the dahlia garden, which was in full late-season bloom. As much as I love dahlias, I grew them only once as a child. I remember waiting and waiting and waiting for them to bloom, which they eventually started to do, but it was so late in the season only a few went through the full bloom cycle before the burgeoning buds were through. It broke my heart. Still, I am grateful for those who do grow them, because when you see something like this it makes it all worth it.

The balm of beauty, particular when conjured by nature, is the best possible way to decompress after a long flight.

The Asian Art Museum was another great way to move my mind-set away from the limited possibilities of Albany. Transcending time and space, it offered glimpses of the distant past, as well as the future. The current exhibit was as modern as they come, while a pear tree bonsai looked to be several hundred years old. It was both a compelling and a calming contrast, this idea that past, present, and future could co-exist simultaneously, and peacefully, and all we needed to do was take it all in and embrace it.

My Seattle Tour Stop had just begun, and already the city was working its magic. Artful, beautiful, and calming – the ABC’s of a perfect world.

Up next: The Food…

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