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Archive for the ‘Alki’ Category


The orca, Orcinus orca, is the “official marine mammal of the State of Washington.” It’s status is even preserved in the Revised Code of Washington. Orcas obtained this rare honor as a symbol of the State of Washington in 2005, when a group of second grade students from Oak Harbor, Washington successfully lobbied the Washington Legislature.

When I was a little kid in the American south and midwest, everyone called them “killer whales.” In the Pacific Northwest, the name orca is preferred in the zeitgeist. However, these marine mammals are not just known in my current home. They swim in every ocean, from the tropics to the polar seas.
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Alki: a series

“Alki” (or “Al-ki”) is the unofficial motto of the State of Washington. This Chinook jargon phrase has several meanings, depending on who you ask. According to the Washington Legislature, “alki” means “bye and bye” or “hope for the future.” Other sources press a more meandering definition, including “by and by” or “eventually.”

To me, the phrase “alki” conveys a sense of optimism for the future, but noticeably without a sense of urgency to actually reach that future. A meandering journey, with a vague final destination or no direct plan to reach it, except for some faith that we will reach it.
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