Tuesday, October 12, 2010


years ago i used to do things that i don't do so much anymore.  you are probably the same way.  especially so if you have kids.  ok, so there are those folks who continue to do everything they did before with their kids.  i haven't mastered this art, yet.  there is hope.  maybe one day i will go dancing with seren at rumors.  maybe not.

one thing i did more of was hiking.  i still go out into nature but i can't hike the same way i did without kids.  mostly this is cuz my kids don't have long legs like me and don't always get the concept of hiking to the top or for hours or until you can't hear the freeway and get a bit lost because you wandered off to look at an interesting chunk of moss.

plus my kids talk.  a lot.  i like to be silent sometimes when i'm out in the forest.  i like to sit still long enough for the plants and animals to forget i'm there.  i don't want to worry about my kids falling into the river or stepping on a hive or eating a bad mushroom.

let's be honest- i need to go to the woods to get away from my kids.  i know- that's awful.  but it's true.  i have facing some awful truths about myself lately and this is one: i need to be alone in nature in order to maintain my sanity.  not to say i wouldn't love other trips with my kids and husband, i would love that- after i get at least an hour with the moss and ferns and trees and chirping birds too small to find.

the other day i was escorted to the dike in edison.  you need an escort- so don't just so tromping through the fields.  you may get killed.  those small town folks are leery of outsiders.  and when we reached the dike wall i could have stepped across the water and sat on lummi island- it felt that close.  it was peaceful and still- and my escort and her mom both fell into the same bit of reflective silence that i did.  we just sat.

i looked up at blanchard hill, that popular perch over skagit valley of so many outdoor-sy people.   i wondered if/when the trees are going to be clear cut to the fund the schools.  i wondered if anyone has ever asked the students what they want: trees or books?  i wondered what it would be like if they just held school in the woods for a week.  what would the kids learn about the world?  about themselves? 

it reminded me of my first trip to the peak of blanchard.  this was during my college years- my boyfriend and i head up barrel springs road and then found a trail head and started up.  and up.  and up.  the trail was beautiful in parts.  we heard gun shots and worried a little.  we got bugged by the flies.  he warned me not to drink the water because i might get "beaver fever" and i started singing "fever!" with new lines about beaver fever- and no doubt i made some crude jokes.  i still laugh to think about it.

eventually we came out the top.  the sky was huge up there- it still is.  the valley spread below you like a quilt.   there is a road that goes all the way up to the top.  i felt a little gypped, i admit it.  there were several large vans and trucks parked about with men tooling about with expansive hang gliders.  the nylon wings were as colorful as any bird and the guys were jumping off the cliff like lemmings- but with more grace.

as i lay on the hillside and watched them circle above me- i couldn't help but wonder about flying like that.  to soar like the eagles, circling the land with a weightless heart.  it was epic to imagine.  how could you land and not be a changed person?  i made a comment to my boyfriend- something about how peaceful it must be to fly like that.  he nodded his head, watching several men circling above us, just as a loud voice erupted from underneath one of the helmeted fliers, "Hey asshole!  Get the fuck out of MY thermal!!"

see how nature changes people?

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