Tourist In My Own Backyard

I know, I know – it’s been done and overdone: ‘Be a tourist in your own backyard!’ ‘Staycation!’ Today’s the day – I made an executive decision on Monday that today would be my day to enjoy Seattle as others see it without the thought that I’ve already done that. Maybe not in the last week, but because of the nature of my job I’ve ridden the Duck, savored Seattle and done the Underground – and more! As I thumbed through my mental list of what-to-do’s in the city, I recognized that morning that little, if any, attractions, tours or venues have slipped past me. I see this as a good thing – as I’m able to speak with passion and intrinsic knowledge to visitors about these things. But what about me? Who’s to lead Seattle’s Maven on a bright-eyed tour of never-before-seendom? If it’s anyone, it’ll be me.
My pals at Seattle Weekly compile a list of what’s happening in the city each month. At times when I think I’ve tapped the city for all it can offer, I’ll refer to them in finding something else. In highly-caffeinated exasperation, I checked today’s what-to-do list and found something different. What’s this they say? The ‘Department of Forensic Morphology Annex’ at the UW has some sort of Star-Trek-Trebble-meets-Texas-armidillo sculpture? Now this I’d better see!
My bag was mentally packed when it was suggested that I spend the day swimming at the lake instead. Swimming at the lake? How long had it been since I’d sat around on a blanket beachside? So off I went, with my teen entourage, to the shores of Lake Washington.
After our short side-tracking at the King County Admin Building to drop off my ballot (because along with being a Seattle Maven, I’m also quite socially conscious and recognize my duty to cast a ballot for measures of importance to me), we arrived at the foot of Madison Street at the grassy shoreline of Madison Beach. Blankets, towels and lounge-chairs sat willy-nilly – some filled, others emptied – their owners frolicking only feet away in the sun-warmed waters of the lake.
Unpacking of necessities (lemonade, cheese, etc.) was followed by a quick slathering of sunscreen (conscious about my skin too – of course!) and immediately worked into a sudden bounding to the water. Although we’ve had some hot weather lately, the lake wasn’t quite up to ‘bathtub’ temperature (as I’ve mentioned to more than one visitor lately), but it was getting close. Ankles … knees … thighs … hips … WHY, I wondered, was my upper torso so reluctant to participate in this adventure? After a few moments of reminding myself that I used to swim in Puget Sound on a semi-regular basis, the leap from dry-shoulders to wet-hair happened within seconds. Oh, beautiful fresh-water lake, I’ve missed you so!
So satisfying are thoughts when sitting lakeside on a day when I’d otherwise be working. Thoughts of anything.
It’s not that I don’t love my job. Au contraire – I believe I have the best job in the city. I’ve just found that it takes something exceptional to make me not think “how-could-I-best-convey-this-to-visitors” and instead just be taken away in the moment – or in this case, the day!
A day off is a luxury that should not be underestimated. Be it a slow-to-start day with coffee and an exaltation of larks in the backyard, or an afternoon of sun-cast warmth and beach towels, a day off should be just that – a day away from it all. And what I found today was that ‘away from it all’ doesn’t really mean being far away at all.
Sometimes it takes the most simple of things to remind us of how simple life should be.

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