March 03, 2023

Being on the road so much has its pluses and minuses, and one of the pluses is that I get to visit friends and see beautiful places all around the country. 

I had a couple of days between shows so I got in touch with my friend Michael Dylan Welch to see if we could get together.  Michael is a former vice president of the Haiku Society of America and is a prolific poet, writer, teacher and sharer of all things haiku. You can get to know him through his website / blog: Graceguts (This link will take you to the haiku / senryu page on his blog.)

I met Michael  years ago through the Haiku Society of America and he is contributing to a book I am working on about haiku quilts. Even though the poems are short and the quilts are small, the process of pulling together the book is long. so it will be some time before any release date. In the meantime, if you'd like to see some of my "haikuilts" click here.  I teach a workshop on this, and although it's one of my favorite classes, it doesn't get booked often.  Click here to see some student work from previous workshops. If you would like to bring it to your guild, let me know. Or, perhaps I'll teach it online one of these days.

We ended up spending two marvelous days wandering around Seattle and Whidbey Island. Here are some highlights for you to travel along with us -- and hopefully you will find some inspiration for your next artistic project, whether it be quilting, haiku, or something else.

Day 1 - We visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass center right next to the Space Needle. If you're ever in Seattle, this is a MUST SEE. Definitely check out the website for pictures even if you can't get to Seattle. You can't help but be inspired by the colors and forms of the glass -- especially in the outdoor gardens. Besides looking at the art, I love looking and people looking at art -- it's really fascinating and entertaining to see how they interact with it, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

After lunch, we took the monorail to Pike Place Market. I love markets colors, shapes, smells, and, people watching. And sometimes you get watched back . . . were these crabs or angry pugs?

Day 2 - We headed for Whidbey Island. The day got off to a rough start: first Michael's car overheated about half an hour into the trip so we had to turn around and go back to my hotel to get my rental car. Then we ran into a snow storm as we drove north up Interstate 5!  But once over the ridge to the Skagit Valley, the snow disappeared and by the time we reached Deception Pass the sky and sea were gorgeous and clear.

We visited several beaches during the course of the day, and it was clear at all of them that we were in the Pacific Northwest, because all of them were lined with fallen logs. And instead of sand, the beaches were pebbles in every imaginable shade of green, red, gold, white, grey and more. It was hard not to pick up pockets full of them!

We visited the Price Sculpture Forest, then stopped at Greenbank Farms (est. 1904) for the best cherry pie in Washington State (yes, it won the competition). I LOVE cherry pie -- and after the first piece Michael and I both ate a second!

We got to the Fort Casey Lighthouse just in time for sunset.

As we left the lighthouse, we encountered a murmuration of birds. Michael and I had just been talking about them (seeing one was on my bucket list) and like magic there it was. I thought I got it on video, but later discovered that I had hit the wrong button on my camera. So, I can't share it with you, but you can see some examples of murmurations in these videos on YouTube.

Then, Mexican food for dinner and a ferry trip back from Clinton to Seattle, where I was so tired I fell sound asleep while the in-room coffee maker was heating water for a cup of bedtime tea.

Did we write any haiku? No. But days like this refresh us for new inspiration to come. I hope you've enjoyed sharing the trip with me, and that you find some inspiration in it for your next travel or quilting adventure!

Happy Quilting! ~ RaNae
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