I tell people I drink a lot of coffee. Everyone tells people I drink a lot of coffee. I don’t know if it’s true. I’ll explain what I mean.

It’s exactly six steps from my desk to the microwave. That doesn’t really matter, because all in all, I probably take about a thousand steps for coffee per day.

I tumble downstairs sometime in the late morning, and pour myself a tiny cup of the blackest black liquid. It has to be tiny. I don’t know why.

I take a sip, then hold the cup while I contemplate. Don’t ask me what I contemplate — it’s not the taste of the coffee or the fact that it’s too early, or what the day will be like. It’s all of these things, or none of these things. The point is, there must be contemplation before another sip is taken. …


Among my many unemployable skillsets is one in particular that I have been doing for a long, long time. Building faerie houses, you might say, has been my life’s work. When no one would play with me and hiding in the bathroom every single recess in third grade was no longer an option, I wandered to the far corner of the schoolyard and built faerie houses under the trees. My cousin and I built faerie houses all through our youth, and into our teenhood. …


Sweep the house with blossomed broom in May; sweep the head of the household away…

~ traditional rhyme of Sussex

It’s a familiar sight here at the threshold of June: driving along I-5, watching the bright spots of yellow burst out, a patch here, a dot there, until blam! The entire hillsides radiate sunshine hues. It can be mesmerizing, almost pretty, if you didn’t know better. On my latest drive from Portland to Seattle, the sky was dark and moody, with giant banks of clouds jutting across in thick lines. The darkness reached almost to the horizon, leaving just enough of a gap for the late evening sun to strain through. …


There’s a little corner of the United States, the upper left one, that is a conundrum of precipitation. This corner (the Olympic Peninsula) is the part of Washington that looks like it’s being torn away from the mainland. Mount Olympus sits astride this peninsula like the queen that she is, watching the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Salish Sea to the north, and the Sound to the East. She is one of the rainiest places in the entire US, getting about 220 inches of precipitation per year. A few miles west, the town of Forks, WA (of Twilight fame) gets about a hundred inches fewer. …


“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather, a room where I could retreat to who I really was.”

– Cheryl Strayed

Being alone is essential to me. Besides the fact that I’m socially awkward, overly earnest, usually serious, and generally not great company, I simply prefer to be able to hear myself think. My batteries wear down faster than an old iPhone in roaming mode, and they need long stretches of silence to recharge. I rarely pass up the chance to go to that place, that room.

As a woman, however, there are circumstances in which it seems impossible for me to feel comfortable alone. Anywhere at night, for example. …

About

Anna A. Snook

Seattle-based writer, nature photographer, semi-artist, pluviophile, lover of coffee. annasnook.blog

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