Little Office on the Prairie

tumwater prairie

This field office is out a bit from the main digs from Central Services, which is the Courthouse Complex in Olympia. I believe that campus is 6 buildings total. We’re in this small office, attached to the Mental Health Triage Center, in Tumwater. Work release sits behind us. The jail sits just up from us, a small parking lot away. Across the street is the Juvenile Detention Facility. Great neighborhood.

Truth be told, it’s felt a little like homesteading. We got a borrowed refrigerator. I bought a secondhand coffee maker and microwave. The project manager brought in a Keurig. We had to add a copier/scanner, and upgrade to desk phones that work. Our cell phones don’t work well inside, so we step outside the concrete box to take or make calls. Somehow, we’re off the cell network in this wilderness. We don’t have 40 acres and a mule or anything, but we’ve had to make this place workable.

Yet what a lovely setting. Hawks circle above. Rabbits and squirrels scurry in the underbrush. Young maples line the sidewalks, their leaves already tinged with red. Some have completely lost all their brilliant summer foliage.

I walk outside on my breaks. The sun pours down its golden blessing. I see clouds, seemingly combed over the expanse of blue pate. Some look like they’ve been whipped up by God’s KitchenAid. Blackberries release their fragrance. Walking across the main road, you discover a paved path. It winds around a neighborhood under some tall trees. Eventually, you come to a quiet creek, burbling to itself, tucked down into a green ravine.

Immediately south of us, past the jail, lie several industrial facilities. There’s a moving truck company, one that sells building materials, a print shop, a coffee roaster, a beverage bottling plant, and the county coroner. Not much foot traffic, but lots of trucks. Some elderly folks walk themselves and their dogs back here. It’s all paved and off the main drag, though not a lot of shoulder. It’s quiet out here, despite the undesirable neighborhood.

I know the rains will come on soon, relentless and gray, marching us straight through winter and into spring. At least we don’t have to stack cordwood for heat and cooking, or dig an outhouse. But for now, it’s a moment captured in amber light. “All is calm, all is bright.”