My morning walk took an unexpected twist.
Since my Michael, and I WFH most days now, when the weekend hits, we hit out the door hand-in-hand. I’lll never get enough of Seattle’s emerald green trails, achways of western red cedar above and ancient sword ferns underfoot. But as a Chicago native, now living in a quiet Seattle suburb, Michael prefers urban walks. He craves grit-filled gutters, where he can take long strides over potholes, while watching out for the notorious tripping trappings of unleveled concrete joints that jut up and buckle by the outline tree roots swelling underneath. Pocket neighborhoods are Seattle’s city jungle; they offer wildly assorted ecosystems from plot to plot. The flora encases and wraps uniquely around each architectured home. Some houses are like degraded forests in the early stages of restoration. Moss-coated roofs and plyboard-covered windows are obscured by blocks of concrete, bundles of rebar and piles of palleted, reclaimed wood behind a builder’s big banner. Other houses are pristine. From the turn-of-the-last-century, stately tudors with half-timbered and stucco facades, to the victorian next-door, as freshly painted as the day it was finished. Sculpted salmon-colored rose bushes climb and frame lush, green lawns. Walkways of waist-high boxwoods for boundaries say, “welcome, but stay off the grass”. We particularly enjoy modern designs, with sleek, lean, dark-stained, horizontal-lined fences and smart rainwater drainage systems that resemble rock-lined swales where horsetail reeds shoot up. Those homes often have huge glass windows that provide passerbyers with a view clear through the house and onto the gleaming water of Lake Washington on other side. Taking these walks is how we connect with our city, each other and life.
In this time of COVID, we stress over whether or not we should even be out, but have justified our walks as much-needed mental and physical health outings. We’ve vowed to maintain social distance by crossing the street to oncoming foot traffic and by wearing our homemade cloth masks. We’ve even found enjoyment in recent concrete jungle add-ons, like spotting stuffed teddy bears looking out from their windows. Today, we paused in front of a large laminated poster zip-tied to the front gate. In creative hand-lettering, the sign thanked essential workers. We read and cried.
“Hi! My name is Polly. I am a lovable and friendly, but shy, 9-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier. I was lost, scared, and hungry, wandering the streets in Mt. Baker without a collar until the Lill’s found me. It wasn’t easy, but they coaxed me into their car and we took a ride to the Seattle Animal Shelter. The shelter’s public-facing counters are officially closed, due to COVID, but the nice staff were willing to scan my microchip and try to track down my owner. My owner’s contact information was out-of-date with old numbers, addresses and email. This means I’ll have to wait and see what happens next. I’m not worried though, because I am in great hands now. I am safe, comforted and surrounded by lots of caring animals of all kinds. I’m excited to have new adventures and another bowlful of kibble!”
Just a reminder to keep your eyes open for those in need–they come in many shapes and sizes. Also, thanks to our spectacular, dedicated heroes at animal shelters! We are not the only ones sheltering-in-place. There are many animals whose lives continue to need saving and it is hard work. We appreciate all of our essential workers.
Week 4 of #writingmedicine