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I didn’t expect to be living so close to water again.

Green near Puget Sound, WA. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

Our first view of Puget Sound, every afternoon walk. (Kathleen Kenna)

I didn’t know that we would be blessed to find an oasis of calm, between big cities and Army-Air Force bases.

So I give thanks every morning to be in Washington, next to Puget Sound.

I give thanks every morning when we open the deck doors and hear a symphony of birdsong.

I give thanks through the day, when I need a quiet moment, and I am transported, in gratitude, to the waterfront.

We try to walk every afternoon by the Sound.  On sunny weekends — not so common yet — we walk and walk.  This past weekend, we hiked seven miles, just exploring the public space around us, and admiring private flower gardens.

We are often rewarded with bald eagles and nesting osprey for our efforts.  On Sunday, a hummingbird rose from the green to do a vertical Matrix-style dance, catching insects in the air, then diving at walkers nearby.

We meet every age and size of walker, from super-fit joggers (young soldiers and older veterans), to families with baby strollers.  Skateboarders are polite and engaging.  There is a camaraderie among outdoor exercisers here that is unique to our exploration of America.

Strangers greet each other on the waterfront paths.  Almost everyone smiles at one another, and after a few weeks, we’re recognizing fellow walkers on our varied routes over hills, through woods, and across reclaimed industrial land.

We admire everyone’s dogs, and explain that we are pet-less, so have the joy of petting all kinds of breeds and sizes. On Saturday, a golden retriever named Mojo greeted us like old friends, then sat on my foot. His owner laughed and said he might climb in our laps if we weren’t careful. Mojo wouldn’t budge. He settled in against my atrophied leg like a blanket, and I was surprised that he didn’t seem to weigh much for his size.

His owner unclipped his leash and walked away.  Mojo, wisely sensing he was among the pet-less, heaved up after her, to be leashed again for a walk atop emerald hills.

I am so grateful for every moment here, that my body yearns for the sensation of walking by this water, with my lover.