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01 August, 2012

Footstep Echoes

Not Nisqually, or even near Olympia, but you get the idea.

The girls and I have been enjoying Olympia on foot lately. We covered 4 miles on the Nisqually delta board walk, cold and windy, but rewarded with wildlife and a hot meal afterward. We ambled downtown (yes, humans can get places without cars), exploring neighborhoods and urban wildlife along the way to the farmers market, followed by a bus ride back (no, humans don't have to let the feet carry the load all the time). Forays through the neighborhood (sometimes with feet pushing pedals instead of pounding pavement) with no particular goal in mind. Motor-free missions to scope out firework viewing spots, or just to pick up a few things at the grocery. Walking down to the port to greet canoe-loads of tribal paddlers (ready to set foot on land after crossing Salish seas), and then trudging back uphill. Yesterday, we walked out on a beach as far as a very low tide would allow, our feet in water that does not hit new land til Asia.

We're exploring, finding where the cute puppies live and where the sweet fruit grows. We're getting places or going nowhere in particular. We're experiencing city grit and natural beauty. We're finding short cuts and long vistas. We're discovering secret gardens and re-discovering public places that exist only as blurs to the car-bound.

We're spending lots of time together with no screens, with no walls. Feet keep moving, and conversation flows. I was never a hiker, but this is familiar to me; it's in my blood. I remember walking through university woods with my family in search of blueberries and a Greek theater. I recall walking what seemed like a long way through the little town where my grandparents lived, visiting neighbors, the firehouse, and ending up at a soda fountain where we would watch our milkshakes take form. These things happened with lifelong teachers who appreciated the value of leaving classrooms and letting places teach at the pace of foot-falls.

As we walk, the earth is pressing memories into our feet. The kids may not remember any one sight, or a particular conversation that passed between us, but the ground was walked on by us, together, our feet shared places and soaked them up. (I enjoy walking solo, too, but moving as a small pack adds something.) Memories are being implanted in our soles, imprinted on our souls, nevermind whether our brains take note yet.


  1. I miss y'all very much right now.

  2. There are footprints of your own out here, crossing paths and coinciding with those of some happy nieces. We look forward to their return.