on a walk today

A few blocks from my sometimes confining apartment is Forest Park, the largest forested city park in the United States -- it's 5,000 acres. I go there sometimes, but not enough. When the weather is bad, or I'm feeling gray, it is easier to go to Chapman Elementary -- two blocks away. But when I have an hour or more, which happens, I'll make the journey from Marshall to Thurman (think Alphabet District, where a block represents a letter), 26th to 3oth. Then I go down some cement steps, and some metal steps under a bridge, to the Lower Macleay Trail of Forest Park. This is a small trail that takes you to a stone house -- once a restroom -- in the far southern part of the park. The trail intersects with Wildwood Trail at the stone house. Wildwood is the longest of the Forest Park trails and winds 40 or so miles. Clearly I've only seen a small portion of this park. I will hike more, but from what I've seen I know this is the place for me, at least for now.

Heidi, my three-year old Aussie Shepard Basset-Booze Hound loves blazing these trails, jumping into the stream, which parallels Macleay, greeting other hikers, just being in the outdoors. This is why she moved here. She loves it. I guess you could say the same for me. I feel good in this place. The smells of damp dirt, the sight of moss covered trees, the feel of the cool moist air, makes me happy to be here, even if it is just me and Heidi. I walk the trail and have time to observe Nature. I see an uprooted tree, dead but with growth on it, and I realize that there is life after death. I laugh at Heidi and call her crazy for jumping into the cold stream. She shakes it off, heads up the trail, letting me know that I'll never understand. All I get out of it is that we're here to have fun and enjoy now. And though this is a strange time, this isn't such a bad place to spend it.

National Geographic did ZipUSA on my zip code:97210. Check it out at: http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0309/feature6/

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