i’m obsessed with a mountain 1300+ miles away.

it’s all chandler‘s fault.

anagram press : chandler o'leary : sketchbook
photo credit: chandler o’leary, anagram press. sketchbook

when chandler began posting her mount rainier drawings in preparation for her artist book local conditions, i was fascinated. i didn’t grow up near mountains, and to have this majestic beauty in your backyard? yes, i want one please. (and i should note that mount rainier is actually a stratovolcano, and this baby is due to blow! it’s one of 16 decade volcanoes, and when its time comes, it’s not going to be good.) reading about chandler’s research trips, seeing her sketches and photos… i wanted a mountain of my own to explore.

anagram press : chandler o'leary : local conditions
photo credit: chandler o’leary, anagram press local conditions

but there are no mountains in minnesota. off i go, to seattle…

the first time i remember seeing mount rainier was december 2009, as i traveled from seatac airport to downtown seattle via light rail. the train took a curve, and there it was: behind a gauze of haze, but present. while i couldn’t wait to report to chandler that i had seen rainier, i don’t remember any other sightings that trip.

rainier, hiding behind safeco field
september 1, 2011: rainier from seattle’s waterfront, hiding behind safeco field

my trip earlier this month was a different story: the weather was perfect for viewing, with the air clearing more with each day of my trip. can you believe rainier is 54 miles from seattle? yet it seems so close… but so difficult to photograph.

from the ferry to bainbridge island
september 3, 2011: rainier from the sound, while on the ferry to bainbridge island

every morning, my first thought was “where’s rainier?” and as the day went on, i would continue to keep an eye on it.

morning run
september 5, 2011: morning on puget sound

on my last day in seattle, i went for a run along the waterfront, and i stopped to take one last photo of rainier as the sun rose. (the quality of this last photo is terrible as i was using my phone.) right after i took the photo, i saw something in the water out of the corner of my eye. could it be? i stood and waited, hoping what i thought i had seen would come back up for air. about a minute later, a seal’s head popped up. i was elated: seeing animals in the wild that i have only ever seen in zoos thrills me to no end. i waited a bit longer to see if the seal would surface again before i finished up my run… no dice. but i still finished my run with a lighter step.

and then i went home, leaving rainier behind.

etsy : anagram press : owen beach hand colored letterpress print featuring mount rainier
photo credit: chandler o’leary, anagram press. owen beach hand colored letterpress print featuring mount rainier

a week or two after i left seattle, an envelope arrived from chandler. within? a hand colored letterpress print of mount rainier from owen beach, with a pup that looks like my old guy (available in the anagram press etsy shop). my heart skipped a beat: i have a wonderful visual reminder of my obsession. thank you, chandler! hope to see you and rainier again soon.

8 responses to “rainier”

  1. Anna says:

    Holy flippin’ shit. I LOVE that box/book/beautiful work of art! And the print she sent you is absolutely wonderful too. I’ve been to Rainer. Left a pair of binoculars in the bathroom at the visitor center. Oops. Steve was none to happy with me. But I still remember the wild flowers along the hike up. We didn’t make it to the snowy top but we did get pretty far. Totally worth your obsession and her amazing work.

  2. jackie says:

    I really happen to like that last photo you took – sort of nostalgic and dreamy.
    and what anna said “holy flippin’ shit” that is some incredible assemblage!

  3. cindy says:

    i like your last photo, it looks vintage and the mountain has a ghost-like feel. chandler’s work is wonderful. i also love that box and the print she sent you very special.

  4. Fiona says:

    We haven’t got any mountains in Norfolk either. I just love it when we make the big trek to Oregon to visit relatives and then get to see the mountains.

  5. Chandler says:

    After 3+ years here, I still do that “where’s Rainier?” thing every time I venture outside. I’ve talked to people who have lived here for decades, and they all seem to do the same thing. It’s like our version of the North Star—and I love that. I’m so glad it’s a compass point for you, too.

    Thank you for all the blog love today! Come back to visit soon—there’s so much more to see.

  6. jen v says:

    it’s always fun to learn new things about you. i am lucky every day when i drive down T.V Highway i get the best view of Mt. Hood. it’s prettiest in the winter or course.

  7. vân says:

    Wow, Chandler’s work is amazing…that beautiful box! I agree with everyone, your last picture is just fantastic. It looks like film!

  8. aimee says:

    Seattle is gorgeous! I spent almost a year there (during the weeks anyway), and when I came back to Minneapolis on the weekends I was continually in geographic shock. Both pretty, but so different from each other. Chandler’s work is stunning and reminds me why I love the Pacific Northwest so much!

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