Moments: Walk in the Park by Debi Douglass

Letter to my Son ~ November 10, 2014

“I thought I would take you for a walk through Jasper Park with Jade and I.

I hope that I can make it nice and as real as words can make it for you:

I always, even when the park is open (and it is closed now) drive to the outside parking lot. It is kind of

my way of enjoying every step of the way. From leashing up Jade, locking the car and beginning to be

pulled by Jadester.

The walk in is awesome as it is gross at first with mud and a locked gate, but the path gets you to the

paved road and it begins the beautiful enjoyable walk into my favorite place on earth. You see the pond

to the right and the drainage culvert to the left. And, if you look up, the tress are so high and the leaves,

if there is a breeze, gently blow them, all independently and with a soothing noise of gentle rustling.

But it is the sight of them that pleases as they spin and some reflect the light while others you see the

bold yellow and browns. And, they are beautiful giants to welcome you into paradise.

There is a dog park now. Fenced and secure so I can let Jade off the leash to run, with a smile on her

face. Oops… she halts and takes a poop… and off she goes again. And after only a few laps

around she is ready to walk the park and is waiting for me at the gate.

I leash her up and prepare to resist being pulled at 30 mph. She takes off and before long we come to

the river. I have seen the river up over the banks into the park, and the bank is at least 6 ft high. In the

summer Jade likes to lay in the water, biting at it and playing in it. I don’t venture down the bank now

because it is muddy, I don’t want a wet dog and for fear I will slip and end up muddy too. I love

looking at the river. It is wide, fast and beautiful, while a bit scary too. The path we walk in the park

borders the river for about 1⁄4 mile and at times is breathtaking. I love the beaver damn, the swimming

hole and the fallen tree trunk that has been there forever.

Looking straight ahead there is this tree that is majestic, I think it is a maple, and the base is a massive

root ball with moss all over it. And, we walk the bark-a-mulched path to a place I once thought would

be where I married Jack, beneath these ancient cedar trees. There are picnic table and swings. It feels

cool from the heaviness of the size and branches of the trees. And of course, the river with a small

bank.

Path Through the Woods

Walk through the Cedar trees to a path that leads down a small hill and has leaves that crunch, or are

slippery under your feet, depending on the weather. To the right is a boulder that is big and has moss

all over it. And as you walk slowly up the path there is a tree that is a young cedar, ferns growing in the

strangest places, and so many colors of green it is amazing! Occasionally a mushroom is here or there.

The path winds and at times you see that a path will take off and lead down to the river. You walk

through spider webs and wipe them off your forehead hoping that the spider that made that web is not

riding piggy back on you.

Then there is a tree that arches and it looks so interesting. An upside down U. It has been there for

many years. You take off to a path that goes right and then there are many spider webs as you continue.

You turn slightly to the left and there you walk into a clearing which is also a baseball field. The trees

surround the field and there are horseshoe pits as you come to the end of the field.

Turning to the left you follow another unpaved road to the paved road, Here is where there are lots of

squirrels and Jade is quite interested in them.

When you reach the paved road you walk along it and a fenced pasture. Once, years ago, there were

cows at pasture in there. I am not a singer but I was singing that day. Singing a song I had learned and I

knew no one would hear me, because no one is ever at the park in the winter. I was walking along

singing when I got to this pasture and looked up. All the cows were lined up at the fence looking and

listening. They were my audience and they liked my singing! (I sing pretty badly too)

There are leaves crunching under your feet. Even Jade is enjoying the noise of the leaves that have

piled up in the road. You can see all the trees in the park, some of them are red, some brown, some

yellow, some large, some small. The colors are so unbelievable and brilliant. The beauty is

overwhelming and I feel my soul, the beauty in me is represented in the beauty I see in the colors and

textures and noises.

Fall Leaves

God made all of it!

Watching the side of the road I will see mushrooms poking out from the leaves.

Mushrooms Along the Path

And more mushrooms…

Mushrooms

Jade watches for birds and sniffs in holes and stops when she hears a noise. Mostly small birds in the

bushes. And, again we are back to the really tall trees as we begin the walk out of the park:

Tall Trees

And again, I say thanks for the legs to walk, the eyes to see and the love I have in my heart!

Thank you for always being in my heart….”

Debi & Jade

Debi Douglass is an amazing, compassionate woman whose friendship adds massive value to my life.  About Debi ~ “I am a mother of two, have lived in Oregon for 39 years and I am a Realtor. I have been a licensed Realtor since 1995.  I love Oregon and I love dogs, so I walk a lot and there is nowhere that is more beautiful than Lane County Parks. I first visited Jasper Park 38 years ago. Strangely, I had no idea then that Jasper Park would become my favorite place, and I would visit it again and again. I take people I love there. I have been there in flood, snow, rain and sunshine. I have walked 3 dogs there that I have owned. I now have Jade, a Siberian Husky. She is 3 1/2 years old and loves to walk.  In my business as a Realtor, I donate to animal advocacy groups and local and national animal shelters. Every house I sell, I send a check to an organization. My favorite is the Greenhill Humane Society.   There are other favorites: Fences for Fido build fences for animals that are chained. Pongo Fund provided food for those that are struggling to afford food for their beloved pets. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn  for more information about my Real Estate career.”

 

Moments: Megan Paska, BeeKeeper

Made by Hand / No 3 The Beekeeper from Made by Hand on Vimeo.

Megan Paska, Beekeeper

With a real sense of purpose and connected to the world, “local farmer Megan Paska has witnessed beekeeping as it morphed from an illegal habit to a sustainable, community-supported skill. Mirroring beekeeping’s own ascendance, she found more than just a living: “This is the first time in my life when I’ve just felt absolutely on the right path.”

A project from Bureau of Common Goods, Made by Hand is a new short film series celebrating the people who make things by hand—sustainably, locally, and with a love for their craft.

About Megan Paska, author of the Roof Top Beekeeper: She moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2006 by way of Baltimore, Md (her hometown). She was no stranger to growing food when she got here. Meg had been gardening in Maryland, her mother and grandmother had vegetable gardens and the rest of her family managed a 450-acre farmstead in rural Virginia where she would spend summers walking through the pastures and valleys picking Chicory and learning to appreciate the quiet.

Once settled in NYC, she found that her landlords were enthusiastic about having a little bit of dirt to dig around in. So, they tore down the ratty old swimming pool that occupied the backyard and put up a raised bed vegetable garden. Soon after came the bees and honey, then the chickens and fresh eggs. They raised rabbits for meat. They canned, pickled and brewed beer. They lived pretty darn well.

“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” Marcus Aurelius

Book Review – Peace In My World by Syeda Mleeha Shah

Syeda Mleeha Shah is a gifted artist and writer residing in Virginia, whose mission is to use her talents to spread peace in the world. In her letter to me, she included the following poem, which is also on her website:

Let’s take a journey to the beautiful world of peace!

Let’s all stand beneath the big blue sky.

Let’s all share the land so green.

Let’s all join hands together.

Let’s reach out to those in need.

Syeda says that writing this children’s book Peace In My World, illustrated by Jason Hutton, is another way she is able to engage and join readers of all ages to explore the meaning of peace. The title of her book focuses on peace and cultural diversity, but the story within is also about appreciating our natural world. Syeda’s book is dedicated to displaced children living in refugee camps throughout the world waiting and hoping for peace and for making the world beautiful by being a part of it.

I very much enjoyed reading this large-font, colorfully illustrated, 25-page book aloud to my family. While reading through the book a few times, I was also thinking about the young children I’ve read with at elementary schools and Sunday schools over the years. Other than the use of the word “empathy”*, which needs to be explained to many adults, the book is a fun and engaging introduction for young readers to grasp the concept of peace, especially when read aloud by a teacher or parent. Because the book does not include phonetic helps to pronounce the names of the five countries representing each letter of P-E-A-C-E, the five languages or the five words for “peace” in each language, having an adult reader to share the book with is most helpful, at least the first time through; this is where the free audio version comes in handy….

Along with the book an audio download code is included by Tate Publishing on the back page, so you can go online and get the audio version of Peace In My World for free. This book can also be purchased as an eBook for half the price of the hardcopy book. Either way, the eBook can be read on your computer, PDA, cell phone or a stand-alone reader such as Sony Reader. Note: The download will be available soon.

For Nancy Isanders’ interview Meet Author and Artist Syeda Mleeha Shah!, click here.

To read her blog and check out her links, click here. To view Syeda’s art portfolio, including art for children, click here.

*Empathy is being able to understand another person’s circumstances, point of view, thoughts, and feelings. When you experience empathy, you are capable of understanding someone else’s experiences.