Saturday, January 12, 2013
I guess as we get older, we find more and more places exist only in our memory. We can close our eyes and picture our childhood home or first schoolroom, even if there is no brick and mortar left to touch. The memory can be almost as real as the physical place.
Not that an old shed or even an old smelter are worth remembering for many. I understand the value of moving on, of building a bright new future. It is a good and beautiful thing that is rising from the ruins of this vast industrial complex. But the people who worked that industry matter. They built a town, they supplied metal that society demanded and they were proud to do so.
It's been two decades since the smelter stack took its final bow. My granddaughter has no idea what our skyline looked like when that massive chimney dominated our view. So many now have no idea that a smelter ever existed on that beautiful waterfront. There were some at the time who wanted to save the stack. We even had a mayor back then who suggested painting it like a finger pointing at Seattle, or putting restaurant on top...
It's good we have moved on. But it's also important to pause and glance back at what brought us to today. This lone sentinel was that pause for me this week - a window to a past I value and people I miss.