My soul is refreshed each time I stay in a lookout. Not only is being outdoors a refreshing break from work and from city life for me, but the simplicity and clarity of the space--just 12x12 feet--reminds me how one can live basically and still be fulfilled. Far from being feeling claustrophic, the low ceilings encourage me not to look up and be in awe of the structure itself, but instead to look out at the lands surrounding.
The weather at lookouts is variable. The last time I went, heavy fog obsured the view of Mt Baker, only a few miles distant. One of my favorite books, "A Pattern Language", advises the builder not to put in large picture windows in a building, for fear that a beautiful view, seen everyday, will become pedestrian. Instead it advises constructing small windows that one will look though in passing. The visitor will cultivate the perfect view in his mind, this platonic mental image fed by brief glimpses of the real thing. But the danger of large picture windows making views commonplace aren't a danger with Washington lookouts: even with windows on all four sides, nature keeps its curtains closed most of the year. After a foggy evening and rainy night, we awoke to a sunrise view of Mt Baker and the Twin Sisters standing above a sea of clouds.