The Ballard Locks: grumpiness antidote

On Saturday morning, I woke up to a houseful of kids. Our two kids had multiple friends spend the night, and they’re all teens and tweens (how is that possible? Explain to me again how time works…), and they were all so loud. I love them all, they’re all great kids and they weren’t doing anything wrong. It’s just that living with fibromyalgia means you wake up every morning feeling like a truck ran you over in the night, and my quiet mornings are how I recover. Usually I come downstairs, do some stretching, make some breakfast, and sit with Finnegan in the quiet living room, thinking about what’s on my list of things to get done. When I feel centered, I start moving toward whatever task will begin the work of the day.

Except on this Saturday, there was so much noise and so many interruptions, that I couldn’t think, I couldn’t get myself centered, which meant I couldn’t seem to shake off the difficult night of half-sleep. Grumpier and grumpier I became, until finally I looked at Greg and said, “You wanna take Finn for a walk at the locks with me?”

“Sure!” he said. Bless him.

I meant to just get myself out into the sun, and away from the noise, for just a few minutes. It’s only a two-minute drive down the hill to the parking lot at the locks, and another two minutes of walking through a lovely garden and park to get to where we could see the water (and the boats!). Which meant that within five minutes we were there, and it was like magic. Instantly, I felt better. The water, the crisp air, the trees, the birds, the garden, the boats, all of it combined was like an elixir of anti-grump. I couldn’t stop smiling. Greg laughed at the sudden transformation.

We walked to partition in the middle of the locks, Finnegan sniffing everything and everyone on the way. We leaned on the railing and watched a little sailboat enter the small lock. One of my favorite things about sailors in Seattle is that it seems the smaller the boat, the more people they have on board. This one couldn’t have been longer than twenty feet, the lifelines didn’t even go all the way to the bow, but she had six aboard. “And twelve beers,” Greg noted, as they passed by under our noses after their lock opened.

“That’s all?” I said. “They must have more below.”

“They must have.”

They had a small outboard and were practically planing as they left. Under the railroad bridge they went, no opening signal needed for their wee little mast (if our sale goes through on this Pacific Seacraft 25, we won’t need a bridge lift, either).



Finn had a great time. Along with meeting several small humans and many fellow canines, he discovered that geese are AMAZING. They honk, they flap their mighty wings, and they poop dog candy.



Obligatory goofy selfie. Not at all obligatory, I just made that up.



The Salmon Bay Bridge,  a place where you really don’t want to get your boat stuck. One blog I found had a great post about the history of this bridge. My favorite was how, in The Ballard News Tribune over a hundred years ago….

On June 29, 1913 this paper reported on the progress of the canal and the “spectacular form” of this “mammoth bridge,” which it measured at 1,140 long and 26 feet wide “to accommodate a double-track system.”



Ugh. I love romance, but I hate this ugly and wasteful tradition. This is what it looks like when it really gets going. I’m sorry that it’s happening here.  It just ends up in a landfill.



The small lock, the mast of the little loaded-up sloop visible over the double doors.



Ahhhh, glorious sun, glorious nature. I love it here. Ballard forever.


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