Downtown a vibrant mixture of cultures

OlympiaApril 8, 2014 

While sweeping our corner in downtown Olympia, I imagined expressing my optimism in only 200 words. Near me a girl sat on a bench. A person approached and greeted her, throwing handfuls of rose petals over them. They embraced.

The sidewalk I had swept was now a perfect mess of love, laughter, creative energy, personal expression, daring, spontaneity and surprise, just like downtown Olympia. Everyone smiled — me, broom in hand, the couple and a guitar player, just arriving on the bench.

Olympia is not everywhere, corporate USA or Disneyland’s Main Street. Olympia is packed with personality and independent people. I was bursting to get down here on the bus 30 years ago to see the music scene, funky shops and cafes. I grew up, lived in other cities, countries and returned knowing Olympia is extraordinary.

I still enjoy peeking around, experiencing people’s food, artistic, environmental or musical passions, running into old or meeting new friends. The people watching and street fashion rivals New York and Paris.

Downtown Olympia provides my children the opportunity to witness small slivers of humanity. It teaches them about our fragile social services system and the limits of representative democracy and also, but mostly, that anything is possible.

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