Monday, January 12, 2015

The Heart of the Northwest

Chehalis by Sarah McTernen

An article was posted in the Seattle Times about the nature of the northwest native.  I will admit it is a mediocrely written article with a pretentious tone and poorly argued points but amidst all that is a grain of truth, the idea that sparked the article to begin with.  Though I may be seeing what I want to see.  In amidst the too many words, I see the notion that us native northwesterners somewhere along the line came here to be in the woods, to be in the wet, and to be mostly alone.  Oh, and we are fine with that.  Take your noisy politics and go home, both sides.  I will take my silent forests and running streams, my industry of living off the land and replenishing said land, I will take my cold mountain air and foggy beaches, wet summers and sunless winters.  I have webbed feet. 
The Puget Sound area used to be industrial, shipping, logging, fishing, low brow and quiet, maybe a little bit on the smelly side. In the last decade or two, the area has seen the rise of the tech companies instead of industrial work, Bellevue has become a big city instead of a dingy beige town, the I-5 corridor is clogged with cars and Seattle is itself pretentious.  The world around here has become very crowded. 
I understand the way the world works, businesses grow and bring more people and those people bring their ideas and everything is one big happy melting pot, but I miss my quiet woods. Woods not filled with people in designer hiking boots clinging to expensive walking sticks and talking about politics or ecology instead of nothing at all.
The world is changing.  The small towns are being swallowed up everywhere, slowly but surely. The tied to the land, hard-working roots of it all are dying out, being smothered by the showy branches of an unknown tree.  That is the grain of truth I saw lingering between the pretentious banter. That is what struck a chord in this girl who grew up walking through the old trees, swimming in the cold waters, and listening to the sound of rain with a smile.

Thank you for reading,
Sarah McTernen

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