Insights / Photography

Strawberry Reflections in Seattle

Seattle, Washington, Pike Place Market, Farmer's market, Christmas, lights, display, holiday, district, tree, shop, sign, street, brick, advertisement, entrance, vegetables, public market,

The rain had stopped so we decided have breakfast at the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. “Go to Lowell’s, you’ll love their lemon-blueberry pancakes,” the hotel clerk said. So lemon-blueberry pancakes it was, on the third floor, overlooking Elliott Bay. My husband Marty and I talked about little things, but mostly we watched the activity along the waterfront: leaves tornado-ing against buildings, cars inching in traffic, gulls hovering over litter…
We finished our coffee, left a tip and ventured down the wooden steps to explore the market: Quiet women with hidden stories gathered dried flowers into beautiful arrangements, men passed salmon back and forth like footballs at the seafood stand while onlookers snapped with their iPhones. A bearded man wearing a white butcher’s apron held out a chunk of apple at the end of a paring knife. “It’s a Pink Lady, crunchy and sweet,” he said.
As we sampled the fruit, Marty listened to the man’s shpeal about apples; my attention drifted absentmindedly across the display of fruits and vegetables, resting on a ski slope of artichokes. I’d eaten artichokes since I was a child growing up in Lakewood, Washington and spending summers on Puget Sound. Back then, a meal of Dungeness crab, artichokes, and sourdough bread–all finger food–was a cheap and easy way to feed five kids. Mom and Dad were foodies; Dad liked to follow recipes…

Dad, these ‘chokes are huge. Remember how we put peppercorns in the boiling water and I’d sneak a little lemon in the mayo? What do you think? We can have halibut and artichokes when you visit us in Kodiak next summer…

People swirled around me, but I didn’t really see them. Sigh. Marty squeezed my hand and we zig-zagged our way through the late-morning shoppers and onto Pike Street. A Christmas tree vender was strapping a small tree on the back of a bicycle and a family stood around Rachel, the bronze pig, to have their picture taken.
“Marty, see the wire sculptures on top of the roof? It’s a strawberry, carrot and pear. Let’s come back at dusk so I can photograph this spot.” I looked forward to the diversion.

Dad, why didn’t you get a second opinion? Doctors said the polyp wasn’t cancerous. At 84, did you really need the surgery? Something went wrong, though. What? In the hospital, I held your hand, stroked your hair. Did you know I was there?

For the rest of our stay in Seattle, I explored, walked and shopped by day and carried my tripod and camera after dusk. The cityscapes provided me with a subject and light palette that was much different than the Sitka spruce trees, eagles, surf, brown bears, fishing boats and sunrises I was accustomed to shooting around Kodiak Island.
Eager to explore more nightscapes (you can’t see tears in the dark), we bought tickets for the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the base of the Space Needle. At $19, tickets were pricey, but reviews looked good. Photos are encouraged, but with a hitch: “No tripods allowed,” the lady said as she scanned our tickets. I bumped up my ISO.

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Space Needle, glass, exhibit, Dale Chihuly

The Space Needle appears wrapped in a flower scarf when viewed through the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle. Photo by Marion Owen, Kodiak, Alaska

Inside the glass covered “greenhouse” I laid on the floor, and gazed up at the Space Needle and framed it with red and yellow flowers. Funny, the underside of its “cap” still looked like gills of a mushroom, just as I remember during the 1962 Seattle Word’s Fair.

Seattle, leaves, lights, streetlights, buildings, street, lamps, washington, puget sound, lanterns, warmth, light, glow, sky

Streetlights in downtown Seattle offer warmth and light to maple leaves still clinging to trees in late November. Photo by Marion Owen, Kodiak, Alaska

The next night, we dined at Mama’s Mexican Kitchen for dinner. It was Tuesday, so we were greeted with guitar music, singing and comfort food. After sharing a buenuelo (a crispy tortilla topped with honey) for dessert, we walked partway back to the hotel, savoring the cool air. I looked up at the lights, the maple leaves…

Dad, I’m right here, squeezing your hand. You’re my hero, Dad. I’m proud to have you as my father in this lifetime… there’s a spark of the Divine inside you, you know… I uh, have to fly back to Alaska tomorrow. I love you, Dad. I’ll see you again, okay?

Dear Reader: My father, Arthur Albertson Allen, passed away on November 13, 2012.


  • Candy Falatko
    December 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Such lovely photographs, Marion. Brings back many memories of Seattle. Our kids and grand kids are there right now for the holidays from Portland. I am so sorry for your loss, but know you will find the best ways to deal with it and to remember him. I’ll be thinking of you, Candy.

  • Deb Elsey
    December 21, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    My empathies to you. He was lucky to have you as a daughter.

  • Carol
    December 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Ah, Marion. Sending you a big hug, and visions of sharp birch backlit against a clear morning. I know you’ll plant something beautiful to remember your dad. Be sure to let us know!

  • Arlene Lopas
    December 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Dear Marion, So sorry for your loss.
    I love your blog and photography. I have found my photography to be a very satisfying activity but in no way does it compare to yours which is beautiful.

  • Linda Campbell
    December 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Dear Marion
    It’s so very hard to lose a parent, even knowing they will live forever in our memories. You have my sincerest sympathy on the loss of your Dad and I do understand the grief in your heart, having been there myself. I’ve missed your postings as I always looked forward to them, but understand that you have been otherwise occupied. Perhaps the snowflake season will help to lighten the heaviness of your heart and mind. Life does go on, possibly with a keener sense of what is important, what to treasure. No doubt there will be many events that bring forth a memory of your Dad to savor and delight in, so he will always be with you.
    May you find joy in the coming holidays and peace in the days to come.

    • Jayne Hurlbut
      December 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      Dear Marion,
      Thank you for your meaningful blog and reflections of your father. I saw Seattle through your lens and was reminded of my first year living in downtown Seattle many years ago… I fell in love with the lighted trees on 5th avenue, and all the lights at Seattle Center… You have a great talent…. See you on the MG cruise in September.
      Hugs, Jayne

  • Carol Taylor
    December 18, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Marion, I was just thinking I hadn’t heard anything recently on your blog, mostly because I wondered what all the ladies were doing at the annual Ladies Brunch in Anchorage. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that your wonderful artistic outlets will help you cope during this grieving process. Thanks for sharing. Carol

    • marionowen
      December 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      Hi Carol… didn’t make it to the Ladies Luncheon because I’d been gone for so long already. Thanks for your comments and warmth. It’s helps for me to get out with my camera… plus, it’s snowflake season, so that helps a lot. All the best, Marion

  • Rebecca Dare
    December 18, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Marion — I’m sorry you lost your dad. I lost mine in February, but he hadn’t been fully here for awhile so it almost felt like a release for him. Thank you for your beautiful writing.

    • marionowen
      December 18, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Thanks, Rebecca… and my heart goes out to you as well. I’ve learned a lot these past few months… this body, this life, there is more, so much more. Blessings to you, Marion

  • Dawn Andersson
    December 18, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Your pictures are transcendentally beautiful. I am very sorry about the lost of your father. From everything I have seen and learned in my life I believe you will see him again. His body may be gone but the love between you remains.
    Thanks you for your blog!

    • marionowen
      December 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Hi Dawn, Thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes, I strongly believe I will see my father again… and love never dies!
      Cheers and blessings to you and your family, Marion

  • Linda
    December 18, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my hubby of 44 years in July so I can empathize with you, sweetie. I love your recipes

    • marionowen
      December 18, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear about your husband… but I hope your life is filled with joy, nonetheless. Big, warm hugs from Alaska. Cheers to you, Marion


Leave a Reply