Come Run With Me!!
Most people don't make the move I did two years ago.... I moved from the beautiful Bay Area, California to Seattle to finish up my last two years of college at Northwest University. As a California native, I have been thoroughly disappointed with this summer: highs of 70 degrees, only ONE week where the temperature was in the 90's, and (are you kidding me?!!?) rain on the 4th of July. All this while my family in Northern CA has been enjoying 90 degree weather at 10 PM for the past two months!
Pre-destroying my ankle (and getting 6 screws and a 3-inch metal plate) in a really unfortunate whiffle ball accident (What can I say? I'm competitive!) I was an avid kickboxing instructor and runner. My dad and I would often run the trails and neighborhoods around beautiful Pleasanton, CA even as late as 1 AM! Here in Washington, that's a recipe for pneumonia, but in the Bay Area, it could be as warm as 75 or 80 that late at night.
Anyway, I got my "robo-boot" off (literally) the day before I moved in at Northwest University in Kirkland. It took me a few months, but I finally got back in to the swing of things power-walking and running. One day, as I was looking at my GPS (I call her "Linda") I noticed a big green area right next to my university. Thinking it wasn't possible, I got my running shoes on and headed into the neighborhood. Lo and behold, I discovered Watershed Park (thanks, Linda!!)
As I walked toward the trail sign, I could not believe the size of this park (and couldn't figure out what the heck that peace sign could be). I quickly memorized the map and crafted a running plan in my mind. As I began to run, I was smiling and even laughing at how unbelievably beautiful this trail was!! Here I was in this urban-suburban area of Kirkland, Washington, and I am now lost in an enchanted forest outlined by houses, residential areas and....the 405??!
I slowed to a walking pace and walked looking up at the trees....With the stress of moving to a new place, the stress of a not-entirely-healed ankle, a new roommate, new professors, a new leadership position, a new and confusing boy situation, the stress of my schoolwork, and the stress of having three brothers deployed, I had found it difficult to find peace for my mind. This was the first time I felt like I could actually let everything go. Breathe in...Breathe out...
Visiting this park became a habit of mine, even a necessity. It was like a secret to me. A hiding place. A refuge. When I run through this park I feel so much closer to nature, so much closer to God. I love to cool down by walking with my face toward the sky, squinting my eyes on those rare occasions where the sun is out, and taking in the beautiful of the gigantic trees...Maybe Washington isn't so bad, after all.
So next time you're unsure of why the heck you live in a place like Washington, take a trip past the Eagle's Nest and up to Watershed Park. I think you'll find yourself carried away into the mystical land of Watershed Park! :)
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