To everyone’s shock I haven’t seen the movie (gasp!). But nonetheless their title also works for me, because I just got back from a quick, three-night trip to the Seattle area and I’m exhausted!
Saturday my housemate and I flew out of Rapid City airport at 6 am, connecting in Denver, before arriving at the Seattle airport where we waited for a shuttle to take us to the Tulalip Resort Casino on the Tulalip Reservation. This was the location chosen for Winter Talk – an Episcopal gathering of clergy and lay leaders from across the country representing Native and Indigenous ministries. Folks came from Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alaska, Nevada, Wisconsin, and of course South Dakota. It was a couple of days getting to know other people, many from various tribes, learning about different cultures and customs, and exchanging ideas. I really enjoyed meeting the other participants especially those with ties to the Rosebud Reservation (where I live now) and the Green Bay area (where I use to live). It’s resulted in many new friendships and contacts that I hope continue moving forward. But that wasn’t the only great thing about this trip. The place itself was one to remember!
The resort is by far the nicest place I’ve ever stayed. Big rooms beautifully decorated with local tribal art. A BIG screen TV that I enjoyed watching the olympics on every night. A huge window looked out from our spot on the seventh floor towards the east, where on a moderately clear day, we could see the lower end of the Cascade Mountains. What I could have done without was the Casino. I’m not one for gambling and it was really noisy. Plus the food is so darn expensive. My heart was hurting a little bit knowing my stipend was going to buffet that I could barely finish a plate from.
We did not get to see much of the surrounding land, but took in what we could get – the edge of a very lush, green, and wet forest. It does rain A TON, but that didn’t stop us from getting some refreshing air that smelled like spring pines. The mountains were calling my name in the distance and I was very disappointed that I could not go greet them, but promised that I would be back to play another day.
We also learned some things about the local tribes. Tulalip is the name of the land (the reservation), but the area hosts many tribes with names I didn’t catch. The last night we were there we went to the Hibulb Cultural Center where we saw displays of what life was like before colonization and many more beautiful art pieces. I really like the style of art there – big, bold lines, usually using black with distinct, contrasting colors. We heard some local stories including how a couple of orca whales saved one tribe from starvation (by destroying the seals that would hog the fish supply). The orca whale is a very prominent symbol of the area and is beautifully depicted in their native art. The only whale I saw was the statue outside the resort.
All in all, it was a nice trip to the West Coast, one that teased me by how short and fleeting it was. I did promise the mountains that I’d be back, and I intend to hold my word. But I haven’t even mentioned one the best parts of this trip. The airport!
I love airports. Love, love, love airports. I love being around other travelers, especially ones who are willing to chat with you while you’re waiting to board or while in the air. I love the planes. They look so beautiful and graceful to me, especially against the natural landscapes of the earth below (taking aerial photographs is one of my favorite things). And I love the fact that being in an airport usually means I’m going somewhere and that’s always exciting!
The flight back from Seattle was particularly interesting. We flew from one major airport to another, Seattle to Denver, without talking much to anyone. Most people were wrapped up in a book, napping, or preoccupied with whomever they were accompanying. And that’s fine. I passed a lot of the time writing some new music (I was actually quite productive). But once we landed in Denver and boarded our tiny, jumper plane to South Dakota, the atmosphere changed drastically. The whole plane was chatty! People were reaching across the aisle. I saw strangers help some elderly find their seats and store their carry-ons. I saw a high-school student pass the flight by talking with the grandmother sitting next to him. I chatted with the woman sitting next to me. The flight attendants were really friendly and had a sense of humor I hadn’t seen on any other planes. They cracked jokes while giving the safety instructions, which probably doesn’t sound good, but a majority of the people being from South Dakota appreciated the references.
There are many reasons I love South Dakota. I’ve mentioned many of them on here, but I’m adding this flight to the list. You don’t get company like this in the bigger cities.