On a scale of one to ten of crunchiness, I am a solid four. I wear Chacos with skirts when the weather is nice, I enjoy hiking and camping, and I recycle diligently. I used to compost back in Oklahoma, but since the garbage disposal came into my life, composing, for me, has gone the way of the dodo.
My suburban sympathies have increased lately, mainly because after too many college years living in virtual squalor, or living sustainably as I used to say, having a new home in a beautifully manicured neighborhood is a luxury I don’t want to give up. I’m also a mom now. That’s my crunch-factor explained.
My love for Olympia, WA runs deep, probably because its residents are crunchy to every degree, delightfully so. The scale of normalcy is tipped in this area: you have your hardcore vegans, deadheads, potheads, animal-lovers, retired liberals, young adult leftist-liberals, off-the-griders, music junkies…the list goes on and on. Regardless of their subtle differences, this weekend they all combined forces to celebrate Life in the Procession of the Species in downtown Olympia.
A friend told me about the Procession of the Species going on this last weekend, which I hadn’t heard of before. The website describes it as a ‘joyous, spontaneous artistic pageant where community members celebrate their relationships with each other and with the natural world’.
Locals create costumes of creatures and dance, march and parade through the streets as a sort of nod to Mother Earth. Twice a year this Procession goes on, once in Spring and once in Fall.
I was super impressed by the creativity and effort that went into the floats, and costumes — many of which utilized recycled materials. Particularly interesting were the large scale floats depicting a whale, giraffe, sea slug, and virus. I’m still wondering how many plastic bags went into the weaving of the whale.
Flamingos on stilts, hopping frogs, and dancing flies all punctuated the lively procession. Participants of all ages (even babies in carriers!) animated the colorful costumes, in a fun and celebratory way.
And true to Oly form, vendors on location sold vegan sweets and healthy eats. Isaac and I split a chicken & vegetable plate from the Quinoa Kings. It was impeccable street food, the likes of which I haven’t seen in Bakersfield, CA or Norman, OK, the two less crunchy cities I’ve lived in.
For this, and many other reasons, Olympia, WA is a strong contender for the city we plan to retire in.