Thursday, July 30, 2009

Carkeek Park, July 30, 2009


It’s been too hot for Silverback and me to hike this week. We don’t have air-conditioning and the days/nights have been miserable. Last Sunday’s hike to Laughingwater Creek was the last “real” hike we’ve done so far this week. The car breaking down, plus waiting for a tow truck in the heat drained our batteries. Sorry for the cliché – this is what heat does to me. I feel about as creative as an oil spill. Or hot tar on a roof. You get the idea.

We’ve been able to get some respite from the heat – a picnic in Lincoln Park, a visit to the West Seattle library and yesterday a Scrabble game at the Senior Center. We brought our own game not being sure that the Senior Center had one (they didn’t). While the Senior Center didn’t have A/C they did have big fans and cold water. That helped a lot. Our brains got a workout – Silverback is a good player. I almost always win at Scrabble – this was his first time to play the game and we ran neck and neck down the Scrabble course. We both love words and it shows.

Today we went to Carkeek Park. Carkeek is one of my favorite “four season” parks in Seattle. While it didn’t qualify as a hike by any stretch of the imagination it just felt good to be outside. And as is so always the case – we carried cameras in the event we might find subject matter to photograph. We did manage to get a few photos – colorful beach umbrellas on the beach, sculpture art in the park and rose hips as big as tomatoes. We strolled the Wetland Trail though this time of year, it’s not that wet.

I waded in Pipers Creek where it flows into the Puget Sound, it felt great to wiggle my toes in the wet sand. There were the usual clusters of seagulls and Canada geese gathered where the freshwater meets Puget Sound, Mom’s with children cooling off in the shade, wading in the water, a few sun bathers in the sand. The heat made us a little silly; nothing wrong with that. We made up funny little poems about the park such as “fish ladders make the fish gladder”.

We stood over the railroad tracks on the pedestrian bridge and watched a freight train go under – it didn’t have a caboose. So many trains don’t have those anymore. I know it’s another cliché but watching or listening to a train always makes me feel lonely; that part of me that never had the courage to run away still festers within and old daydreams about running away and hopping a freight train die hard. No one describes riding the rails as poignantly as Loren Eiseley – now I must venture down into the basement and ferret out his essays to read again. The late Eiseley was a poet and naturalist; one of his books was entitled “The Night Country”.

Back in the 1970s I didn’t drive and didn’t have much money so I either took a train or a Greyhound to wherever I wanted to go. I traveled light then; just my clothing, my poetry and a lot of dreams.

We walked back to the playground and cooled off on the swings. Geezers on swings – why not? That’s one way to get a breeze albeit temporary. We found other pieces of art throughout the park, pondered those and wished we knew more about the artists and their work. The Sculpture Art in the Park will apparently be there until August 10. It’s fun to find them!

Carkeek Park is in North Seattle – it’s especially inviting in the spring when the orchard is in bloom and the gnarled fruit trees are surrounded by daffodils. You can also find semi-hidden snow-drops near the orchard early in the year. The park is also pretty in the fall. That’s when the salmon return to Piper’s Creek.

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