I walk by water every chance I get.
This is good for my body, which thrives on exercise and fresh air. My sleep is improved 100% after I’ve been walking by water — or better still, kayaking.
Walking by water is good for my mind. It calms the racing thoughts, stills all the “what ifs”, and relaxes all the overworked bits.
If walking by water — this water — is good for mind and body, it’s especially good for my soul. I am at peace here; I am overjoyed by the scents, the sounds, and the sights of my new “backyard” — South Puget Sound.
I walk in gratitude, every step.
As my feet pound along a paved trail, I can smell wildflowers in the meadows, pungent mushrooms in the forest, and that unmistakable scent of freshly-washed dogs.
I hear the cry of the osprey guarding their waterfront nest; I smile to hear children with kites on the commons, the roll of teens’ skateboard wheels racing down the hill behind me.
Why am I amused every time I hear the thwok of golf balls taking flight here? It’s such a clean sound, I imagine every ball heading straight down the fairway.
We share this public land with the Chambers Bay Golf Course. I walk miles for free. Golfers play 18 holes for $200 (9.4% tax, not included).
We share this land with wildlife, and many freight and passenger trains on tracks just above the shoreline.
Every time I see Amtrak’s Cascades headed north, I think of my family in Canada. And each time I see those familiar green-and-cream cars headed south, my thoughts go to our friends, and former home, in California.
There’s a gravelly beach too, where we usually see kayakers, ferries, yachts and family fishing boats. On sunny days, there are a few SUP-ers (standup paddleboarders) and kite skiers.
Occasionally, if I’m being very still and very observant, I’ll spot a seal nosing its way along the shoreline. It makes the osprey nervous, but delights all the dogs chasing driftwood in the water.
I’m happiest on water, in water, near water. This may be primal. It may have something to do with extra mobility on waves that I, a woman with disabilities, am denied on land.
I prefer to think of it as spiritual and holistic. I am in community here, with nature, with dog walkers, with joggers, and with Tai Chi devotees.
For all my gratitude, I want to help protect this place. I’m donating today to the People of Puget Sound, a non-profit advocacy and volunteer group that works on environmental policy, citizen clean-ups, and responsible stewardship of these waters. It has become part of the Washington Environmental Council, for extra strength in convincing both Washingtons — state and federal government — to save Puget Sound from all the polluters who would spoil it.
Giving on Sundays is a regular feature of living in gratitude, and part of a new citizen’s introduction to all the groups making her adopted country better.