happy birth canal traffic controller day

It’s a Hallmark day but it would be blasphemy to rob mothers of any glory.  Diana wasn’t particularly demanding, she asked if we could go out for breakfast. She really liked Skillet when we ate there earlier this year, so we went again. I got the griddle cakes (again). Strawberry rhubarb compote. The epic cinnamon roll. But I don’t care to eat at Skillet again (unless it’s mothers day). The food is okay but the setting is rather charmless, like the shiny condo building it sits under. The service was rather poor, the wait-staff  is obviously hard-working and busy…..so busy they forget to refill your coffee after one cup.  After breakfast we headed north to Skye Nursery, our favorite place to go for that kind of thing. Generally, we took it easy in the afternoon. Adam and I gave Lucy a bath in the backyard while Diana worked on the back porch potting new plants for inside. I was still a little tired after a long day yesterday hiking on the Olympic Peninsula (and a bad delay at the ferry terminal in the evening). Plus, my sinuses have been really bothering me lately. My Flonase is starting to give me bloody noses, I’ve never had that problem before.  Before dinner, we went for an evening walk along the Montlake Cut.

Yesterday I sort of badmouthed A Natural History of the Senses to yet another person. This time, I thought of Diane Ackerman because my friends and I saw a hiker carrying a large crochet mushroom laying tenderly over his shoulder while he stepped ponderously along the banks of Barnes Creek. Who am I to judge someone for carrying a crochet mushroom in the woods, who is looking for an ancient tree in the shape of a woman? We stopped to talk with him because it turns out we were admiring the same tree (I made my friends backtrack to see the tree of imminent danger, i felt it could come down at any time) and he spoke with the intense tenderness of someone either a little off or completely absorbed in an important task. A few minutes later we stopped to take pictures of tiny unfurling ferns on the forest floor and we were ambushed by a guy from New Jersey who was interested in our pictures for his guru and our zen was jarred by the realization we’d become a tourist attraction. I would have sent him an image or two except the slip of paper he wrote his email address on went through the washing machine and the ink smeared.

I started A Natural History of the Senses when Adam and I went to Michigan. It was more-than worthwhile to read, but after awhile I got exhausted by Ackerman’s frequently purple prose mixed up with the more science-based parts of the book. Oh, and her i’m-so-worldly-and-traveled anecdotes, don’t even get me started on those. The book has a lot of brilliant parts, but as a whole it got more and more muddled and my low IQ didn’t help. I kept with it because she inspired me, but I started to get the impression perhaps her editor was under a tight deadline and they rushed her before she could really tie everything together. Interestingly, her dissertation advisor at Cornell was none other than Carl Sagan.

On the one hand, the guy with the crochet mushroom was a weird dude. Sometimes you can’t explain things away to be polite. But while we were watching him, I also knew we were watching someone engaged in an elevated state of concentration. I admired him for being both a little weird (I like weird people) and obviously attuned to his senses. Contrast that with the lady we saw moments before who was looking for Marymere Falls (the trail for which she and her family had already been hiking on for a half mile, even having passed several signs). They nearly started walking up the path for Storm King before we pointed them in the right direction.

Adam and I finished The Mouse and the Motorcycle. All we’ve got left is Runaway Ralph.

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