Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Serendipity has always been one of my favorite concepts. I specifically remember the day I learned this word as part of a vocabulary lesson in elementary school. The reason it made an impression on me is that my Mom bought bars of both Ivory and Dial soap for our family's use. I was always confused about why the bar of Dial would sink but the Ivory floated. And in school that day, the teacher used Ivory soap as an example of the meaning of "serendipity".

Evidently, during the manufacture a mistake was made. Somebody probably left the gigantic mixer on too long and too much air was forced into the soap recipe. They discovered that not only did they end up with more bars of soap but because of the extra air, the bars would float in water. This made life a lot easier for little kids in the bathtub--no longer would the soap get lost. Thus, the entire situation was a "serendipity" meaning according to Webster, "The faculty of making providential discoveries by accident."

Our mudslide may have been serendipitous. I say "may" because I am not sure yet. However, it is beginning to look like we will be able to claim the back half of our property. Before the sloughing, it was completely inaccessible and the blackberry bushes were totally out of control. Now, as a result of the slide, we are able to get back there and my husband was able to reach the invasive blackberry vines to begin the transformation. The "toe" or bottom of the slide created a new level area where we will be able to plant some native water sucking trees known as "willows". Also, we have plans to add more native vegetation to restore the area and the little sprouts will actually have a chance to survive without the blackberry bushes. In the end, the natural plantings will be attractive, the area should be protected from further slippage, and we sort of have more back yard.

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Slide from below.

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Looking toward Puget Sound. Big Gulch.

Our neighborhoods in the Seattle area are divided by gigantic wild gulches. The gullies are deep and jungle-like with creeks at the bottom. Huge cedars, doug firs and maples grow along the slopes with ferns and Oregon grape spread along the ground. Construction and development have destroyed some of this natural flora and then the blackberry moves in. Obviously, this is what happened when our house was built but now we have a chance to restore our little part of Big Gulch. Yesterday, I was up at the top of our street peering over the edge into Big Gulch on a steep stretch where there are no houses. Apolo loves this spot because of the squirrels. Frankly, it is breathtaking. And at that moment, a huge branch off of an ancient maple tree decided to break and crash to the bottom. It was thrilling even if it did scare my dog.

Nature Rules! Sometimes it is good; sometimes it is not so good.

Right on my street. I love it.

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Hubby begins the restoration.