Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Washington: Incredible Discovery

This Day in History: November 11, 1864

Washington State Motto: "Bye and Bye" (Al-ki or Alki)

The history of Washington includes thousands of years of Native American heritage before Europeans and Americans arrived and began to establish territorial claims.

"If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth." 
~Chief Seattle

Mt. Rainier Reflected in Reflection Lake 
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

How did Washington get its name?
The state of Washington was named after George Washington, our first President. It is the only state in the Union that is named for a president.
Washington was nicknamed The Evergreen State by pioneer C.T. Conover (Seattle realtor and historian) for its abundant evergreen forests (not officially adopted by Washington legislature). The state of Washington is always green, a color echoed in the State Flag. Another nickname representing the conifer state is The Green Tree State. A nickname not heard very often is The Chinook State, which can be traced back to 1890. This nickname refers to the Chinook Indians of the state. Although its official, unambiguous name is "The State of Washington," the state's name is often reversed and referred to as "Washington state" to the chagrin of many natives. This is meant to distinguish it from Washington, D.C., also named for George Washington.

Washington is home to some of America's wildest spaces and also its most modern cities. The Evergreen State is a story of mirror opposites: a wet, mountainous, tree-covered west and a dry, flat, open east. It is home to high-tech industries and America's oldest Native American tribes. Experience all sides of Washington State, from thousands of feet in the air, and witness its conflicting worlds merging to form a land of remarkable beauty.
The earlier region was part of Oregon Territory from 1848 to 1853, after which it was separated from Oregon and established as Washington Territory. After the passage of the Enabling Act of 1889, Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, 1889.  Early prominent industries in Washington included agriculture, lumber, and mining. Eastern Washington is the mirror opposite of its western half. Unlike the very wet, mountainous, tree-covered west...this is dry, flat, open country, robbed of rain by the High Cascades. Powerful rivers run through the state, providing natural habitat for one of America's best game fish, the steelhead trout. The mighty Columbia River is home to one of the world's most massive masonry structures, the Grand Coulee Dam, which provides 30% of the nation's hydroelectric power. The city of Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the fastest-growing major city in the United States. The capital of Washington is Olympia.

 Washington State Bird: Willow Goldfinch (American Goldfinch)
Male American photo by Dan Dzurisin (Flickr)
The willow goldfinch became Washington's official state bird in 1951, also called American goldfinch or wild canary.
Active and acrobatic little birds, goldfinches fly with a bouncy, undulating pattern. The diet of the goldfinch consists mainly of seeds.
Washington State Tree: Western Hemlock
Western hemlock trees in Olympic National Park, Washington -
photo by Tom Green on Flickr

The large evergreen coniferous tree, the western hemlock, was named the official state tree in 1947. Native to the west coast of North America, the western hemlock tree is the largest species of hemlock.
 Washington State Amphibian: Pacific Chorus Frog
The Pacific chorus frog proposed by a third grade class at Boston Harbor Grade School in North Olympia, Washington was accepted as the official state amphibian in 2007. The Pacific chorus frogs (also called Pacific tree frogs) produce their charming sound by puffing up their throat sacs to three times the size of their heads. 
Washington State Fruit: APPle, AppLE, APPLE-licious!
Producing about 42 percent of the apples grown in the United States, Washington named the apple as the official state fruit in 1989. The majority of apple production occurs east of the Cascade Mountains in the central areas of the state.
Washington State Flower: Coast Rhododendrum
Washington officially designated the coast rhododendron as the state flower in 1959, though it was actually selected as the state flower in 1892 by the women of Washington for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
Washington State Arboretum: Washington Park Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum photo byy Peter Prehn on Flickr
Washington Park Arboretum was noted as the official state arboretum of Washington in 1995. The Washington Park Arboretum (University of Washington botanical gardens near Seattle) is internationally recognized for its woody plant collections on 230 acres.
For all State Symbols of Washington click HERE!

 Washington State Song: Washington, My Home

  Washington State Folk Song:  
Roll On, Columbia, Roll On by Woodie Guthrie


Washington State Dance: Square Dance
Every region has folk customs - they give people a special sense of identity and belonging to a group. The square dance provided pioneers with recreation and social contact with neighbors - and is still doing that today! The square dance has been the official state dance of Washington since 1979. Twenty-two states have passed legislation to declare the square dance as a state symbol, and more than 30 bills have been introduced at the federal level proposing the square dance as the national (folk) dance of the United States (beginning in 1965).

Incredible Discovery


Coniferous forests
Nature's timberlands
Need for trees, need for cash
Met logging demands


Legend upon legend
Miners tunneled for gold
Discovery after discovery
Did Washington unfold


Scenic beauty
Amid coastal trails
Rocky seastacks
Sound of wildlife wails


Dramatic landscapes
During frost or snow
Springtime's blossoming
Autumn's natural glow


Temperate rain forests
 Stoney and sandy beaches
Incredible discovery
As far as the eye reaches