Yesterday I walked the city with a woman from out of town. I wanted to show her Seattle’s waterfront.

The city wasn’t having it. It offered no peaceful expanse of water yesterday.

We confronted inert crowds of people instead. People frozen in lines so they can stay safe from being near each other. She couldn’t see over the heads.

Wherever there wasn’t a crowd, there were fences of gravel and cranes.

We kept walking. I knew the ferry terminal opened up a view.

Last month it had a view. Now it doesn’t.

An acre-wide concrete block has been put up, blocking that peek at open water. Presumably this will be another near-waterfront office building which will sit empty for years like the two concrete boxes near it. They have dusty “for lease” signs posted above the tents on the sidewalk ringing the offices nobody can afford.

As my eyebrows knitted, trying to see past the chainlink fences out to where the real world is, my friend pointed up.

“There’s the clouds,” she said. “Right there.”

She’s part Cherokee. I wonder if that helped remind her what’s real.

In that moment I sure needed the reminder.