At lunchtime I take walks along south Lake Union, past the houseboats and the train tracks that have been repurposed as part of the landscaping. An hour takes me along the canal, past the day care where the kids are playing in a triangular fenced area, and to the college track.

I bring paper and a pen. When a thought strikes me I stop and write it down. I feel like an inspector, taking notes on the business or dwelling I’m in front of. I’ve been asked whether I am a reporter.

Sometimes I just observe, and a thought will come to me about what I’m seeing. A woman running her hand through cockatoo hair. If I’m thinking from the point of view of a certain character, my observations take on an edge they might not have otherwise, and instead of merely seeing shirtless men jogging by, I see runners working on their skin cancer.

Other times I notice things that might come in handy for something, someday. Wire fencing around the trees, probably to keep beavers from chewing on them. Birds one-upping each other with their calls. A black crow among lime-green leaves, the colors so breathtaking together I have to stop and look. When I do, the crow turns its head sideways to get a better look at me. I imagine him saying, teenager-esque, “So you’re looking at me why?”

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