Fifty years ago this summer, Seattle was in the middle of a major transformation. Planners were rushing to build the first World’s Fair in America since World War II.

If you listen to people like Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “Left Coast” cities like Seattle are so far out of the mainstream that we’re on the outer banks of reality.

Years ago, my photograph appeared in Seattle Weekly as part of a spoof on mountain climbing. I posed in a parking lot in SoDo with an ice ax, standing in front of a building with a picture of Mount Rainier painted on the wall.

There’s nothing so antique as the future. Seattle Center embodies that. The site of the Century 21 Exposition in 1962, it remains a Space Age fly caught in amber.

The tide is out, revealing a great seaweed-matted mud flat. Gulls are scattered on it like huge, mobile, white-feathered clamshells. They strut at the water’s edge, looking for stragglers and snacks the receding tide has left behind.

Built to Spill