We forsook the Fairmont for cheaper lodgings at 4th Avenue and Columbia. From our fourth floor room, we look out on old and new Seattle, with the charming old Smith Tower commanding the center. This building was for decades the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi, a distinction it lost to the Space Needle in the 1960s.
Now Smith Tower is a mere Lilliput relative to giants like the Columbia Center (left), whose scale far exceeds the limits of my view. From the window, the layers of labor and achievement of over a century are evident, perhaps most particularly in the steel and glass “cap” added on to 403 Columbia (the relatively modest office building at the intersection), whose brick base dates to 1910. The modest parking deck across the street (which miraculously has escaped being razed), is a historic structure dating from 1919.
Such is my view, as family memories and a sense of ephemerality combine in a poignant and scatter-shot way. I struggle to put these aside out of respect for a woman who specified that her family refrain from mourning her with any public tribute or ceremony. The view will never be the same, and in no time at all new life will sweep in to occlude our loss.