Sunday, June 25th, 2017
And the final weekend at my Greenlake apartment has come to a close.
My apartment is down to the bare bones. Almost all of my furniture is out, nothing is in my closets or cabinets, and anything that once adorned my walls is now packed away in boxes. This weekend was full of cleaning, more packing, organizing, and getting things into storage. I truly don’t know what I’d do without the help of the incredible people in my life. I wish I had a million dollars I could give to the Landin’s for helping me today and letting me store my life at their home. It was slightly comical that the big day to move all of my belongings also happened to be the hottest day of the year. While all of Seattle was out enjoying the well-deserved heat wave, the Landin’s and I were loading up the cars and hauling my bed on top of their 4-Runner.
And now here I am, in a sleeping bag in my living room where my TV once was. To my left are piles of stuff I’ll be donating to Goodwill. I’m eating pizza, listening to some tunes, and looking at my nearly-bare home. Hoping my back won’t hate me tomorrow after sleeping on my hard-wood floor, but I’m just pretending I’m “glamping” and it somehow makes me feel better. And I don’t know how he does it, by noisy neighbor is still managing to make noise directly above me. I’m in the corner of my living room and usually at this time his noise is in the bedroom area. It’s as if he knows I’m not sleeping in my room and has decided to do his clog dance in my little corner. Usually I’d be aggrivated and muttering curse words, but I’m not going to let him take the excitement out of this transitional period.
Regardless of the noise and sleeping on a wood floor, I’m oddly loving it. It feels a bit like a sleepover. There’s so much space and only what I need. In this case: pizza and my sleeping bag.
Sometimes you have to shed and let go in order to experience something you’ve never experienced before. I’ve never let go of so much stuff in my life and it feels incredible. I never knew how much physical things can weigh you down. I truly believe I’ve donated more than I’ve kept. Freeing.
With a clean slate, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with everything in front of you.
I’ve lived in Seattle for 12 years and specifically in Greenlake for 5 years. My entire time in Seattle, I had always heard, “Don’t swim in Greenlake, it’s dangerous.” The word was that Greenlake was not safe to swim in and had this sort of taboo. For as long as I could remember, I repelled at the thought of swimming in the lake – it’s toxic and I could die. It’s just what the majority of people here said.
A couple years ago, Matt suggested we go swimming in the lake and I immediately nixed that idea. I could not be convinced and we never did swim in it. I remember him saying, “You can swim in Greenlake…it’s a lake. It’s meant to be swam in.”
Well, I finally came to my senses… Along with getting rid of all my items from my materialistic past, I’m also shedding the silly preconceived notions I once held. Recently, I was in my spot at the lake and I saw a kid jump in. This kid wasn’t afraid of the algae blooms that the news reported on. I laughed and thought back to what Matt had once said. I knew I had to swim in the lake before I moved away.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of going along with what the majority says. It was liberating to stop listening to the fear of the majority and simply do what I want. I’m going to hike alone, I’m going to walk on ice, I’m going to go on a walk in the middle of the night to enjoy the snow…and I’m going to swim in Greenlake. As long as you’re smart about it, taking risks brings some of the most joyful moments. Ha, “risks.”
For my maiden swim, I wanted to do it with Matt since he was the one who suggested it years ago. We waded into the water and cooled off from the 90 degree weather. Why did I wait so long?? The water was perfect and guess what? We didn’t die! In fact, I felt more alive than ever. You couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face if you tried. Swimming to Duck Island and coming across a hidden swing was the cherry on top.
Again, why did I wait so long??
All these years, I could have done one of my favorite things at my favorite place while it was only a couple blocks away.
Better late than never.
So tonight, I went back to the lake with the intention of swimming again. This time, I went to the Greenlake Aquatheater and dived off the dock. I floated and watched the clouds roll by, enjoying the last few hours of the weekend. Not a worry in the world while floating in my ‘backyard.’
Even though I only have a few more nights here, I will not take a single moment for granted.
On Saturday, as I walked the lake during the most serene sunset, I stopped in a spot that was very familiar to me. During this year’s Winter, it was so cold that the lake was frozen over. It was simply magical. I remember in early January driving home from work and being in awe with the stillness. No movement at all. Not just the outer edges, it was the entire lake – completely frozen. It didn’t look real.
So I pulled over and walked down to the lake to soak it all in. I wasn’t sure how long the ice would last, so I didn’t want to put it off until the next day. I found a spot with the perfect view of Duck Island – when I walked to the ice and looked down, there was a rose right in front of me. It was certainly a breathtaking moment. I didn’t think it could get any better…but it did. As the sunset became more colorful, the Greenlake Heron flew out of the Island – he was the only movement all around me. It was one of the most unforgettable sunsets I’d ever experienced.
This Saturday night reminded me of earlier this year, but a bit warmer. Then I looked over to my left and there he was. The Heron. He was standing among the shrubs, hidden from the main path. I couldn’t really believe it. Actually, that’s a lie. I could believe it. I always seem to be drawn to that bird. And we always seem to be drawn to beautiful views.
We stood there until the show was over – frozen in time. Another unforgettable sunset.