Words and Images


Chevrolet and River

I stop to take in the curious knobs and buttons inside the fading red Chevrolet. This car, with it’s worn down seats and scratched paint, brings the possible past to the forefront of my brain. What accomplishments, memories, and downfalls brought this Chevy here? It must have been difficult to come by this car in its time. It required work, and once the owner worked hard enough, this car was the key to their life. One can only imagine the grandeur and glory days, two illusions that have obviously come and passed.

I drag my hand along the hoods of several forgotten automobiles then step out into the street. The frozen wind slaps my face then whips my hair back so it streams out behind me. I, an only semi-tame Medusa, run back behind the vintage garage and lean my head against the cold door. I loiter a while, doing the opposite of what I was told, as usual. My feet rest on the slippery sidewalk while the melted snow river rages down to the storm drain below. The freezing sensation in my fingers and toes is uncomfortable, but not unwelcome. Here in the same lonely alleyway, I know that trying to warm my appendages will do no good. I have no choice but to wait out the winter. There is no other way but to sit through the ice, snow, wind, and rain, trying to stay dry. It does not bother me anymore. This frozen discomfort has come to be my home. — by Faith


Forbes and 25th

I will forever remember the intersection at Forbes and 25th avenue. At this intersection, my views on life were changed and for that I am truly thankful. I walked down the slippery sidewalks covered with smooth ice and slushy snow. I watched the cars as they raced by me. I looked at the stair cases that lead up to the beautiful doors that reminded me of a long road leading into a vibrant sun set. It was then that I realized something. I realized that all of the individuality in the world is in this world for a reason. I believe the reason is so that everyone will see the artistic abilities of people and nature. Everything that is interesting to me may not be interesting to other people and what I see may not be what others see. I also realized how we, as people and as an economy, have evolved. From the old days to new ones. Old cars to new cars. Older buildings and doors ready to fall off of their hinges, to modern exciting buildings and gorgeous doors with exotic gold colors. On that day in January at the intersection of Forbes and 25th avenue, I felt a sense of a different perspective. A perspective that wasn’t my own. A perspective that had appeared out of nowhere, and startled me. The fact that not everyone saw what I saw and the fact that I didn’t understand why they didn’t see what I saw is what startled me. The sense of perspective made me think. Using other people’s perspectives, ideas, and artistic abilities can help me to partially understand that the world is one big piece of art waiting to be fully understood and discovered. — by Danasia

With a Tilt of the Head

As your step begins to falter when you pause to take a look, that’s when revelation sets in. When your eye begins to wander, you must not search for beauty. It must come to you. Looking at the world with an unwavering perspective, your eye will not catch the true meaning of beauty. Sometimes to truly see you must tilt your head to one side. In my city not all things are what they seem. Every place, every person, every misconception has its very own unique story. My city is not interchangeable. It will not sway for you or anyone. So sometimes you must tilt your head to one side to see that my city, Tacoma, is the most wonderful place of them all. — by Avery


I took my first step out of library, into the winter breeze. I found myself in a wet, unwelcoming puddle. All around me was soaked with the remains of the snowstorm that occurred over the past week. Paths covered in slick ice, and slush. Old architecture flooded the streets and the mad faces of pedestrians that passed made me uncomfortable.

Colorful patterns of rain boots and umbrellas surrounded me while people hurried to get to a warmer destination. I wandered into a quaint little coffee shop. A sweet comforting aroma filled my lungs and soothed me with a warm passion. I shared an enlightening expression with the many other people in the shop. Laughter over a hot cup of mocha, soft music playing faintly in the background; everyone brought together because of the wet cold day. Different cultures, different stories, everyone sharing happiness and laughter in such a small place. As I was leaving the coffee shop a sweet old lady in a parking garage gave me a smile. I ricochet the gesture and continued on my way further into the cold city.

Observing the place around me, I saw a giant mural painted onto the side of a building. As I got closer, I noticed how magnificent it really was, vibrant colors and delicate designs, hard work and skill, patients. This incredible artwork contrasted with the rest of the dull city. It filled me with hope and the inspiration to create something beautiful in the midst of such a mess. — by Angie

The Car Shop Contradiction

The car shop’s garage was a place full of contradictions: wet but warm, manly with a feminine touch, old but new. Seeing and feeling all of these contradictions excited me. As I ventured through the dungeon like garage I could smell the sweet aroma of gas and oil. Soon I grew tired of the poorly lit automobile haven and began my departure. Until something caught my attention… a light brown door that smelled of cedar. The moment my fingers touched the hard bumpy texture of the door my mind filled with questions and compliments. Who made this door? What`s beyond this door? The questions flowed through my mind until I stopped myself. I began to remember why the door attracted me in the first place, it was not because of it’s beauty but it was the mystery it held. Who knows what could be beyond the door?  Could be gold, silver, or maybe diamonds? It could be a passage to the gates of Heaven or Hell. Oh how I would love to know what lies beyond, but if I was to open this door it would lose the mystery it held and therefore it`s beauty. Finally, after thinking it over I opened the door. — by Andre

She Walked Down These Streets

She walked down these streets thinking, how could anybody accept these things. When she walked it was cold. As she walked she thought and noticed it was silent. While she came to a crosswalk she looked to the right noticing a burned building and a wire fence beside it. The building once had windows that are now blocked by wood. A perfect door that is still there but has two guards. A fence and a block of wood nailed. She felt scared and abandoned with her boots, gloves, packed pants, and warm, puffed coat on. She kept walking and saw a mural. She thought, the mural makes her warm and full of love, but then she looked around the neighborhood and felt cold, scared, and lost.  She started her journey again and came upon something she had seen and heard before, but it was not the same.  It was a bell, black, just like the fence around it.  She stopped to look for a while, and moved on, until she came across a wire fence again, but this wire fence had a sign. A danger sign. Danger at the top, and other words at the bottom.  She thought if she were caged in that fence she would feel like she was in prison.  Erasing that thought, she kept walking, and then stopped because she saw a once good couch and baby toys.  She knew that the couch was once jumped on and slept on.  She knew the toys were the best toys that the children had played with, and that now they have grown up. They might be taking care of the person that had thrown them out.  Continuing on her journey, she realized that it was a calm and gentle neighborhood, and she was happy to have experienced it. — by Jordyn

Winter Colors, Reflecting Tree and Shadowy Tree

I am walking along through downtown Tacoma on a nippy Saturday morning. My shoes are not made for the murky weather and I am freezing cold. My hands, reddened by the chill, are shaking while they try to capture any kind of interesting angle. The streets are dripping wet with slushy puddles of snow that is, seemingly, trying to melt away. Trapping in my lens trees through a half kept white picket fence. Or catching sight of a reflecting barren tree branch swaying eerily in a windowpane. Damp, icy stairwells leading to unwelcoming doors. A neglected couch lies on the sidewalk. Lonesome once loved plastic toys strewn about it. Over a chain linked fence hangs a lonely mailbox, just waiting. Lurking behind it weighted down shrubbery sits framing an old and dreary apartment building. His moss-covered bricks sigh, sorry for their rundown appearance. Overgrown entrances detached and gray. A long since forgotten shelter boarded up, closed off. The pouring rain does nothing for the already sullen streets. The slippery curbs make my steps unsure. I’m sliding and stumbling. The soggy wet soaking my toes. Yuck! Unexpected glimpses of hopeful red peer at me in archways and window frames. — by Ranan