The light is rarely perfect, but yesterday it was. We went outside with a camera, racing against the shortness of January days, to the tidelands east of Tacoma’s port. In search of rust and industry, we found it everywhere – amongst the impatient cargo trucks and the stoic smokestacks.
The land between the waterways is surprisingly low, flat and desolate after 5:00pm. The tranquility accentuates the wide open spaces and empty asphalt lots. How could such a busy place seem to echo loneliness and absence?
We pulled into the parking lot of former Emerald Queen Casino, which is no longer in use. The giant paddlewheel boat is still docked beside the main structure, which has had only minimal upkeep since closing 8 years ago. The parking lot is overgrown and carpeted with detritus of fireworks.
Perhaps we were trespassing, but we felt drawn to the place. The disrepair and disuse of the site was so fresh and stark. A chandelier glowed in the window of the boat. A few workers leaned against trucks parked at the front door. The giant marquee is unlit and looks like a relic from a time long before 1997. There is a sign that still warns against feeding the geese.