Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring has finally reached my gloomy home.

I love spring in my city. Winter here is depressing, it is rainy and damp and the gray soaks up all of the other colors. For half of the year from late fall to early spring it is all gloom. The other half however is glorious.

From spring to fall I am surrounded by beauty. We are a town of trees and rivers and ponds and hills. Ok only one river but it winds it's way though town so that it is hard to be far from it. We have bike paths and foot paths and hiking trails and rocks to climb and parks of all sizes and varied purposes. My family tends to make the most of it.

Yesterday we took a "walk". Since we walk frequently just because, deliberately taking a walk means more than a quick stroll, it is an all day adventure. We have a river walk which covers most of the city and the midpoint is a few blocks from my house. We walked to the park where the trail starts and I immediately began to remember why I love my city so much. I tend to forget over the winter. Our entire street is overhung on both sides with elms, maples and poplars mixed in with all of the fir trees. There are roses, tulips, and magnolias filling the air with enough perfume to make you dizzy.

The park was crowded but it is that happy kind of spring crowded. Kids playing frisbee and riding the swings. Teens and adults sunbathing or playing soccer, dogs running, little ones feeding the geese and ducks. Happiness.

Our walk for the day took us out around a wetlands preserve. It used to be an old quarry, with several gaping gravel pits. It has been turned into ponds and marshes which serve as habitat for herons, coots, osprey, bullfrogs, pond turtles, the ubiquitous geese and ducks, even some bald eagles. There is wildlife everywhere. To one side you can see houses and apartment buildings, malls, and offices. On the other a wilderness teaming with life. I think the dissonance makes it more beautiful than if it were truly wild.

It was slow going. Every few minutes we stopped and looked at some animal or another. My son who is six caught a ladybug that he insisted needed to come home with us to live on our roses. At one point we spent fifteen minutes trying to find the log with the most turtles. It had thirteen, my wife was smart enough to bring binoculars. At another my son and I climbed down a little embankment to walk on the shore and play king of the mountain on a large boulder. My nine year old daughter who currently has a broken wrist joined us after I crawled back up to help her safely down. My wife preferred to stay up and watch us but eventually she was too tempted and came down as well.

Eventually we reached our goal, a trail let us out near a little shopping center where my wife needed to buy some supplies for her Girl Scout troop. That was the excuse for our walk. We just overlook the fact that it would only have been a ten minute drive. We bought her supplies and some frozen lemonades and headed back to the trail on the other side of the river for another two hour walk home.

No matter what my situation is, angry, bad, sad, frustrated, whatever. Taking a walk by the river, in the spring, with my family, fixes everything.

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