Washington State is a place of divergent cultures, a meeting ground for tech and timber, old and new. It is a region in flux, redefining itself on a generational scale so broad that it can’t help but run against itself. For example, the northwestern corner of the state houses Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, and also the largest protected stand of old growth in the United States, the Olympic National Forest and adjoining Wilderness Areas.
One way of taking in this culture clash, and perhaps coming to understand the essential nature of a place, is via its road signs, which I did, on a recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula.
In no particular order:
‘Roddy O’s Square Dance Lessons’
‘We plant some more/for future bounty’
‘What supports habitat, houses and hospitals? State Trust Lands’
‘Poverty lane’
‘Ice and kindling/Knives and Ammo/Youth bows’
‘Blackberry Jam, 99% seedless’
Communities of ‘Beaver’ and ‘Sappho’
‘Logged 1930/1984/1986/…Next Harvest 2036 Jobs grow with trees, hand-hewn signs of timber rhetoric
‘Range area, watch out for livestock’
‘State Prison, do not pick up hitchhikers’
‘Loggers support Tim Fletcher, Our Future, Our Mayor’
‘Where the Mountains Greet the Sea’
‘Twilight town’
‘Edward Cullen Didn’t Sleep Here’