i’m obsessed with a mountain 1300+ miles away.
it’s all chandler‘s fault.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.