Catepillars in the U-district

  • Posted on: 23 January 2010
  • By: karis

I am having a small adventure today. I took the bus to the university district for some thrift store shopping, bookstore browsing and quiet warm-beveraging. Whenever I come to this part of town, I am reminded of when Randy and I first moved to Seattle. We lived on a sailboat, conveniently located near UW on Lake Union. Since Randy was (and still is) a PhD student, we took full advantage of football games, student theater, and the local coffee shops. We would walk the Burke-Gilman to this part of town for date nights, or on lazy Saturdays. These were the pre-K (pre kids) days, and they seem like a fuzzy shadow of my present reality.


A catepillar comes to mind when I think of life before kids. Catepillars are bound to their round little bodies and tiny feet. They see the immediate. Their eyes are on what's directly in their path, and their mind cares only for consumption. Their perspective is naturally limited. And then this radical change takes place. "Hello, world! I have wings. Holy &*$#. I had no idea that there was life beyond grass, and leaves." I don't know if butterflies feel joy and elation when they take their first flight, or taste their first flower nectar. I'd like to think so.


Let me get back to the U-disctrict. Another memory comes to mind, post-K. A few weeks after having Elias (haggard, sleep-deprived, new body shape that I wasn't sure I liked), I remember driving through the UW campus one morning and staring at the students who were all heading to their classes, i-pods in their ears, North Face jackets under their backpacks. I watched them and thought to myself, "Clueless! You are all so clueless. You have no idea what is ahead of you." They were such catepillars. Their lives consist of stuffing themselves on academic foliage, social greenery and musical mulch. Their concerns range from their up-coming mid-term to the guy they met at the frat party the night before. I loved being a catepillar! Why didn't I enjoy that rich, consumptive stage of life more?


So here I am, sitting in the Tully's a block from the Ave, musing on my stage of metamorphosis. People of all shapes, sizes, colors, smells hang out down here. It's not a very clean or beautiful, but something drew me here on my little adventure day. Maybe I was drawn here because of the diveristy of this place. There is a youthful vibrance that wistfully takes me back to my own college days. There is a shabby population that reminds me of time spent with homeless folks in Denver, listening to stories from the street. There are huge brick campus buildings which house our great thinkers, inventors, and future hope. It's good for me to be here are remember that I am still a catepillar in many ways. My leaves are different. I consume a diet of playdates, trips to various child-friendly places, time-outs and food preparation. I've got to give grace to us catepillars of various stages. None of us are beautiful and flying yet.