Origin Stories: Washington State

Hi everybody, my name is Sydne Yas Dresser, and I’m a new IMBY intern as of April 2018. If we haven’t met before, allow me to officially introduce myself. I am currently a senior at the University of Washington studying both Spanish and International Studies, and mentally preparing myself to become an ‘adult’ in a month when I graduate from UW. I have spent my entire life – a short 22 years – in Washington state.

I grew up in the small town of Woodinville amongst evergreen trees and on a road that didn’t have any sidewalks or street lights. I was constantly surrounded by nature: my backyard was practically a forest beckoning me to explore. It was filled with tall trees, overgrown huckleberry bushes, and many native plants to Washington state. Being from such a lush area instilled a love for the outdoors in me from an early age.

Now, as I have grown up and seen my sleepy town of Woodinville developing along with Seattle into a bustling city, I find myself savoring the nature that we still have around us. It is so easy to take it for granted. Since Washington is the only state I have lived in, I wrongly assumed that all states were rich in nature like Washington was–filled with sprawling and picturesque landscapes, mountain views, and alpine lakes. But, this isn’t necessarily the case.

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As I grew older and traveled around the country, I found myself always yearning to return to the tranquil Pacific Northwest that I was increasingly proud to call home. It took me leaving Washington and seeing it through a person’s eyes who was gazing upon it for the first time for me to realize how lucky we really are. Washington is a state with growing industries and technology, but it still is green and filled with gorgeous nature. If Washington were a human, it would be somewhere around my age on the path to becoming the person they want to be, but still with a wild side–the nature side.

As my own teen years have changed into my twenties and I now tell people where I am from when traveling, I find that many people are fascinated with Seattle. They want to know how much it rains (of course), but they also want to know about the ease and accessibility we have to nature. It is apparent to me now that Washington State, and Seattle specifically, have become places of interest on the map. However, this fact is not surprising when you consider the distinct characteristics of our Emerald City and our Evergreen State. How many other places can be so interconnected, but also make you feel so far away from everything?

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From Seattle, there are countless trails just within an hour’s drive that will take you out of the city and put you on a mountain where it looks like humans have hardly stepped. This is the greatest dichotomy I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. I can wake up in a busy city with the sound of car horns blaring and people everywhere, yet  within a short period of time, I can find myself back in the Evergreens, embarking on an adventure that is guaranteed to deliver incredible views and a feeling of peace.

This wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for this magnificent state and all that it offers. From my own personal experience, I have realized that it is easy to take where you are from for granted, especially because you believe it will always be there as it always has been. However, I am finding that change is all around us and is happening fast. If you’ve grown up in Washington, you can see the change–the construction of apartment buildings and widening roads. But the magic is still there, and by magic I mean nature, which should be appreciated and cherished –it is a precious resource that not all have the opportunity to enjoy on a daily basis.

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I suppose this is a confessional from one Washington native that has come to realize how lucky she is for having been born here and grown up in the upper left USA. I truly believe that we are living the best of both worlds in our state. I for one feel so fortunate to live here, in this moment, surrounded by nature and the green from the cedars and pines of Washington that I have fallen in love with. Long live the green and long live the Emerald City.

BY SYDNE DRESSER

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