A Love Letter to a City

    Our backyard apple tree blooming last April in Seattle.

Yesterday it rained in Colorado Springs. Not the momentous release of a thunder storm, but more of a slow leak from the burdened sky, the rain drops inches between each other. Even so, it felt reminiscent of the Seattle drizzle I enjoyed or endured, depending on your take, for several years.

I loved it all along – the Northwest gray skies that made all the other colors of the world more pungent in their display. Last May or June, when we were just weeks away from saying goodbye to that wonderful city, I wrote Seattle a love letter. Today, when I’m missing it so much, I will share it here:

Dearest Seattle,

I’m in love with you.

I guess you already knew that since I’ve explored every inch of you and fawned over your unique beauty for five years now. I almost wish it wasn’t true because it has to end now. We’ve both known all along that this couldn’t get serious, although, it does seem highly inappropriate to say goodbye while the spring sun coaxes the blossoms from their budding cocoons.

It’s like I’m one of your many beautiful trees – my roots sink far beneath the very streets and paths that I’ve driven and walked and run these last five years. My roots twist and turn as they search for the right nourishment for this particular tree – around Greenlake, to THE gelato shop, under the Woodland Park Zoo, through the duck pond, and even to the hospital. Your fertile soil has always provided whatever my sometimes thirsting roots have needed - even when what I needed was quite painful. Your steady nurturing has helped me grow immeasurably into a more comfortable, quiet tree. I’m at peace with myself largely because of you and the time we spent together.

So, I’ve made a decision. Pulling my tender, yet firm, roots from this wonderful city is too agonizing to even consider. It’s too weed-like and common. I don’t think I’ll be able to get them out without damaging the gnarled, stubborn things, so if it’s all the same to you, I’ve decided to leave them here.

You see, I want to avoid making a large hole where I once was. I realize that means you can’t fill that space with someone else, but, selfishly, that’s exactly my desire.

Please don’t replace me.

I don’t know when I’ll be back. I don’t know if I’ll be back. It seems very unlikely, but, in my dreams, I’d like to imagine myself back in your realm - directly over the city roots that so painfully and comfortably and imperceptibly grew.

And, that’s the end. Of the letter, I mean. I remembered the letter yesterday when a completely different sky squeezed a few drops of nourishment out maybe just for me. I remembered, and I thought about what kind of roots I might have beginning here in my new home. They feel very small if there are any at all. I would claim that they are as insignificant as a mountain flower - small, delicate roots pushing their way through the dry desert, yet robust mountain soil. But, I have not yet seen any flowers here. Spring is a long time in coming. But, sometimes the things that take the longest end up being the most beautiful.

                     The 'swing' tree. Also in our backyard last April.


  1. Don't worry, there are no flowers on the apple tree yet. :)

    1. Ash, Your comment made me laugh and cry! :) I seriously miss those trees. I loved both of them like I've never loved a tree before. Weird. I know. My girls ate the green apples off the apple tree all summer long. Hope your boys do the same! Love, Sal

  2. Thank you for writing what I would have never been able to say, yet how I feel completly!