In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Neighborhood Watch

This morning I decided to fore go the trip to the gym's treadmill and "tread" around my own neighborhood.  Last fall I measured a one mile loop through town, and walked it four times a week before I joined the gym.  Feeling nostalgic, without giving it anymore thought, I dressed for the walk. Slipping into my outdoor walking shoes for the first time in 3 months felt wonderfully familiar.  My toes quickly found their home and the frayed cuffs around the ankle reminded me of those winter walks in harsh weather.  Somehow it felt like putting on gloves more than shoes.

This September marks my first year in Bellingham.  It's been interesting to see how the area changes in each season.  Bellingham is a beautiful town.  I've enjoyed many wonderful scenes, fine enough to be painted on a dinner plate.  The weather and seasons clothing the landscape in each pattern that defines them.

I saw the town bathed in fall leaves, branches and trees blown into the street from winter storms, sidewalks caked with rippled frozen slush, puddles of water rushing into the drains from springs thaw.  The crocus are the first flower of the year marking the end of winter; brings hope to me every time I notice their purple petals.  Then the tulips show up, two months later, marking the edges of flower beds.  They stand so fancy as if saying "We bring the spring"; too much power for a flower.  I prefer the statement of the humbled crocus.  They surprise you popping up where they do, breaking through the snow under a tree line, around the steps, or snug beneath a rhododendron, staying for only 2 weeks, then away they go back into the ground.

Slowly over the course of the three summer months, homeowners start to make their way into their yards.   I can hear the sounds of lawn mowers, shovels hitting the dirt, and lawn-edgers as they grind in that crack between the grass and walkway.

This morning in August, my final month to view, proved good hunting in the area of natural events.  A summer storm is forming in the northwest corner of the sky, the dark clouds growing slowly.  I wonder if I should of brought a jacket?  Warm temperatures have the maple trees raining sticky sap onto the roads and sidewalks.  So thick in some spots my shoes make sticking sounds as I cross over them.  The sap leaves a mark like a raindrop tattoo on the cement.  Oh and the spiders are out!  Those common garden orb-weaving spiders are all over the place, constructing their webs across the walk ways, on the bushes and windows, any place their silk will stick too.  August is proving to be a sticky month!

The bees are also in full swing.  Saw two honey bees at different corners, walking.  A bee taking a walk?  I wondered if it was doing that honey dance they do to communicate to the other bees the direction and distance to the nearest nectar.  There were no other bees to be seen near the dancing ones.  Perhaps these two were young bees practicing their dance moves.  Good thing to practice, you wouldn't want to shake when you should have wiggled causing your friends to fly in the wrong direction- a place of no nectar.  No nectar...  an office building or perhaps a freeway full of violent windshield related bee deaths?  Practice little bee, practice.  I'll walk around you and let you practice. Spiders, bees, summer flowers making their final showing- all wonderful sights.

Taking the last steps of my walk up to the back door, I feel a little bead of sweat on the side of my forehead.  That is proof positive of a successful walk.  I sit and think on what I've seen as I pour myself some coffee.  Looking out the dinning room window, I notice it starting to rain.  ...perfect timing.

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