There is something humble about the way you sneak into my life every day. A fleeting glimpse of the Space Needle out the bus window. The tap-tap-tap of a queen’s confident stride down a 2am street. A dazzle of pink spreading across the mountain-tipped sunrise. You slide unassumingly into my morning smile as I remember: I live here.
To think that it’s been a year already. A year of Orca Cards and coffee shops. Of library books and houseplants. Turbulant cycles of summer and rain. Every day I wake up feeling privledged. My morning tea comes wrapped in a felicitous notion of belonging.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved a city before. The picturesque cobbles of an old English town and the tolling of bells hung high in a Minster. There I learned how to live. I learned how to break my heart, how to forget. But here, with you Seattle, I’m learning to be. Just to be. Nothing more complicated.
You challenge me – force me to find who I am. You encourage me to seek myself beyond the four walls of my apartment. I’ve found pieces of me in your ten-story library and stashed in the winding stalls of your downtown market. I’ve found myself on the edge of Lake Union and curled on a seat of the 49 bus. These pieces I left behind in far away countries, but here they find me again. With each day and each piece, I slowly become more of myself. All thanks to you, Seattle.
You encourage me to push myself further. To run that last mile and try that new thing. I’ve become braver because you make me less afraid. You show me acceptance on the paths at Greenlake and encourage me on the hills of Interlaken. The cheers and kind words echo freely between the buildings and people who call you home. You make me better by showing me humanity – the quiet kindness that underlies us all.
Not every day here is a blessed day. But the same is true across all of time and space. We can’t always skip Monday mornings. Your Januarys’ weigh lifeless and limp on a soul seeking sunshine. The damp can be a powerful overlord. There are days, Seattle, where a warm summer beach might tempt me away. But even with my toes burried deep in the sand, I feel you pulling me home. Running away is no longer an option, because even the days when the sun forgets to shine are bright here in this city.
Even your sidewalks tempt me to dance. Footfalls of the tango laid out to follow. Your bridges are guarded by trolls and art springs forth from every crevasse. Frivolity and sobriety are intimate friends here, guarding each other without jealousy or judgement. Here, I can be at once serious and silly. Embracing all sides of me. Celebrating all part of me.
Here as well, Seattle, I’m becoming more human. I’m learning the meaning of friendship and love. There are still plenty of half-made plans and intentions lingering in the soon-to-be now. There are plenty of dates from dubious websites, leading to ambivalent feelings. Just so, there is plenty of laughter and fond reminiscence with kith as close as kin. There are sparks of potential that feel like happiness or the future wrapped in possibility. My loneliness dissolves into an unfounded fear. For here, Seattle, I am filled with hope that I too can be loved.
Dear Seattle, this city I call mine. I cannot thank you for the gifts you have given. I cannot return the favor you have shown. You have proven to be generous and forgiving. You have welcomed me each morning – and so I smile. Here’s to you dear Seattle, and to many more years to come.