Readers Respond

Dork, Disruption, and Deportment

One of the great pleasures of this newsletter has been the responses I have gotten. I thought I’d share a few. Please continue sending them in; the more the merrier. After all, one of my goals for these newsletters was to start conversations about natural and human history. Your notes are a great way to do that.

“David, you are a wonderful dork.”

“I love you @geologywriter. So happy you continue to disrupt in the best of ways. Your picture is now on our refrigerator.”

I had many good responses from my Young Historian newsletter (July 29). Most noted that they, too, got “many ‘disturbs others’ comments” on their report cards. Glad to know that I was not alone in my deportment issues.

My Manis Mastodon piece (July 22) prompted a good question. “The Orcas locality and a salvage site on San Juan Island (cave bear jaw in bog sediment, in Burke Museum) raise interesting swimming questions for me. The exact position of sea level at the time isn't perfectly known...but those big beasts would have had to cross open water with strong currents to get to the islands.” It does make me wonder how they got to the islands; sea level was lower (the water was then in the glaciers), so maybe it was easier to walk though swimming seems logical and we know that modern relatives of these animals swim. We may never know.

Sadly, the creek in A Creek Runs Under It (June 24) was not the lone one to attract people’s attention. “As you say, there are seeps and streams all over Seattle – When we lived on 16th Avenue NE, one originated next door at the top of a small rise. When it rained, a small stream ran through our basement into a drain. You could probably write a whole book on them.”

A friend took a good natured umbrage with my story about Mt. Rainier (June 10). “I have also heard Baker referred to as 'Koma'; the prefix 'Ta-' is a negating form, so 'Takoma' would be 'not Baker'. Which is fitting in my view. Koma is the real mountain; your Takoma....well...isn't! You know, that other one way down south somewhere.” I still like the guy despite his delusions!

Several people responded to my Horse Power newsletter (June 3). One wrote that her dad observed “that Seattle's hilly terrain necessitated having at least one road up and down hills suitable for horse traffic. The road would be graded to accommodate a 'one-horsepower' wagon. For example, you couldn't expect ol' Nellie to pull a wagon laden with sacks of flour and groceries up Queen Anne Avenue (the future counterbalance), could you? No, too darn steep.”

Another wrote: “My late mother in law used to point out the horse stalls in the fire station that still stands on the SE corner of 4th Avenue and Battery Street. She was born in 1913 and remembered her mother telling her about the engine horses there.” 

And, as personal follow up to that newsletter, I was down in Portland last week, where they had/have a different way of tying up their horses. Known as horse rings, or ring bolts, they were required to be placed every 25 feet to provide a place for delivery vehicles to be tied securely.

I’d also like to thank everyone who has sent me notes about Homewaters. It always makes my day when someone takes the time to let me know they have read my books, enjoyed them, and found connection with what I wrote. As you are probably well aware, writing is a somewhat lonely profession so connecting with readers is pretty darned awesome and uplifting and welcome.