Polka dots of wonder

Dear President Trump,

Yesterday’s sore throat seems to be gone and all that’s left is a little bit of snuffley-ness and a light cough. The snow, however, is still here – and then some. We got maybe another half inch overnight as the sidewalks and side streets are all blanketed this morning.

Feeling fairly (at least compared to yesterday) robust, I took my customary walk this morning. I needed to get outside and prove to myself that I had the wherewithal to do my usual routine and I wanted to see what the road conditions are like since I’ll be driving to work after a while. Like I said, the side streets are covered with snow but there doesn’t seem to be a layer of ice under the snow (good news, for sure) and the arterials are just wet – I didn’t see or feel any ice at all (more good news).

In addition to these road condition checks, there was an unexpected bonus observation – the sidewalks along the arterial look like so much white cloth with black polka dots and in the center of each black (bare pavement) “dot” is a single, tiny nugget of ice. It’s so cool! As I walked, I kept checking to see if the dots on the next stretch of sidewalk had the little centerpieces, and sure enough, they did.

I’m sure other, more observant, people have seen this phenomenon before, but noticing it this morning is a first for me. At one point it occurred to me to wonder whether the nuggets aren’t ice crystals but really salt crystals since it would make sense that the arterial sidewalk might have gotten special treatment. However, I saw the same thing in a few places on side street sidewalks so it doesn’t seem like a great explanation. Plus, the city of Seattle can barely get it together to salt (or plow) roads and I can’t imagine they would bother treating any stretch of sidewalk outside of downtown.

Whatever causes it, I hope one day you become the sort of person who appreciates a nice, unexpected natural phenomenon like this – it’s restorative to experience a bit of wonder. I have the sense that such experiences are utterly foreign to you and that this is part of what’s wrong with you and your outlook. Thus, I really do hope you are someday open to wonder and can let go of insisting that you are an expert on every last thing.

May we be safe when conditions are dicey.
May we be happy when we are gifted with a bit of wonder.
May we not take our individual or our collective health for granted.
May we hold our leaders accountable and constrain any warring impulses they may have.

Tracy Simpson

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