Coffee on the Quad (A Beautiful Zoo) / by Kevin Swantek

This last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I spent a lot of time wrapped up in mental and emotional noise. I woke up Sunday determined to snap myself out of the funk. In the morning I took a stroll around Greenlake. There was a slight chill in the air still, but the sun was out, and the walking path was already filled with people. Though the walk was nice, it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I decided after that to meander to the University of Washington campus where I could sit amongst the Cherry Blossoms and people watch.

I started by grabbing an americano from Cafe Solstice, my favorite coffee shop on University Avenue (commonly known as "The Ave"). I proceeded to walk across the sky bridge onto campus, past the Henry Art Gallery, through Red Square, to the Quad. On a nice day Mt. Rainier can be seen from Red Square, between Suzzallo Library and Gerberding Hall. And though today was a beautiful 52º and sunny, Mt. Rainier could not be seen from behind some far off clouds.

 Mt. Rainier on a clear day.

Mt. Rainier on a clear day.

The Cherrie Blossoms in the quad at the University of Washington are famously beautiful. Every spring they are in full bloom for a week, or more. Depending on the weather they might stick around a little longer if its dry, but a good rain can also start to knock the blossoms off their branches sooner rather than later. I personally love it the most when the blossoms begin to fall, and the weather is dry, but there's a stiff wind. The blossoms sprinkle off their branches like snow, and it reminds me of a Kurasawa movie. But really the point is that when the weather is nice, and the cherrie blossoms are in bloom, the quad is a beautiful zoo.

If you aren't expecting it, or for some reason you're in a hurry, walking from one end of the quad to the other can be the most annoying thing in the world on a day like Sunday. There are so many people, and they're taking pictures, or they're not looking where they are going, or they're stopping abruptly in front of you (with no way around). It gets very packed, but the crowd did not annoy me this time. I found a quiet spot to sit, sip on my coffee, and take in the people and the nature. It was just what I needed to calm my mind after the last few days.