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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 15, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Seattle and the great Northwest

You’re all sick

I heard that the city of Seattle allows people to ride their bikes naked [“Flash: Parks may ban nudity,” News, Nov. 13].

What sicko said that was OK? There is a prophecy that the city of Seattle will be destroyed by a huge earthquake and there is one on the way next year. The space needle will be laying on its side and all the buildings will be rubble.

I would say this will be well-deserved to such a perverse place.

— Marietta Alexander, Everett

And so it goes

I have lived in several states and been to many countries at different times in my life. I grew up in the South, but from my earliest memories, I knew I needed to live in the Northwest.

In 1996, after many failed attempts to find a home in a state close to my family, I followed my heart to the the “emerald city” in the “evergreen state.”

I remember when I first crossed the Cascade mountains — the smells of sweetgrass, Firs, Blue Spruce and Pine trees. The air was fresh and clean from the rain, the water was cool and clear and the mountains were snow-capped and as beautiful as a painting. I found myself thanking the maker of this pristine part of the world for allowing me to live in this sacred place.

But as the days and months and years passed by, I began to notice a change. Wherever I went, I saw the trees being cut down to make homes, apartments and other buildings for all the other “new” people who came here.

Over the years, there has been less rain but, when it does rain, the rivers overflow their banks and mudslides occur because of the loss of so many trees. Since I came to this wonderful place, the air and water are not as fresh and clean and there is less snow in the mountains.

People who did not care about this beautiful place came and went for jobs. As these people came and went, a foul stain remained.

It has been 12 years now, and what I see saddens me. Where once there was a forest, now stands an empty $1 million house, or a half-filled apartment complex, or a car lot. But the trees are still being felled and new things are being built next to these places.

People like me, who came and walked softly on this land, can barely afford to live where our hearts brought us.

I wonder what names this state and this city will be called when the trees are gone, no rain falls, and the mountaintops are no longer white with snow. I try to leave no mark on the places I go, but so many others do not follow my example.

Maybe if we act swiftly and ardently, we can change our path. Our fate is in the peoples’ hands. That includes you.

We do not own the land. Mother Nature does not count dollar bills; she counts the weight of our footsteps. Remember those who walked before us and think about those who will come after.

I will end this letter with the words of the Great Chief after whom this city is named:

“Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hill-

side, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or

happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb

and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories

of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust

upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than

yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet

are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”

— Chief Seattle’s Oration, Puget Sound (1854)

— Lisa Warner, Everett

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