The other day, I decided that it was just too good a day to write indoors.
I packed up my laptop and other stuff and headed for Marine Park, in south Bellingham.
On my way, I stopped off at the Amtrak station and got a coffee and watched travelers, tried to take a selfie—which I’ve never done— all the while feeling terrified self-conscious, and hoping no one smirked at the sight of an old woman taking a selfie.
The sun was bright so I’m squinting like crazy in this photo.
After about 500 words, I moved on to the park itself.
I love to watch children at the beach. They find “treasures” most of us would plug our noses at.
Like this cute little boy who found a dead crab. He’s so excited, and on his way to show and tell his parents and siblings all about crabs. Oh, how I remember those days of innocent exploration and exuberance over tiny creatures, and rocks, and waves.
I did 500 more words, and, as if God were sending me a bonus for my productivity, a freight train rolled through on the tracks adjacent to the park.
I love trains. And apparently, others do, too, because about twenty of us lined up along the iron fence to count the railroad cars as they lumbered and screeched around the bend.
What skill, what knowledge to build a freight train! And how does the conductor safely move that long vehicle through miles and miles of track? The massiveness of the train, the blast of its ear-shattering horn, the squeal of metal on metal, the rush of air as it passes, the places it’s been and the places it will go: I love trains!
Close by, a young man also watched the train.
I returned to my shady picnic bench under a huge—and I do mean huge—maple tree.
Later, a shadow made me look up at the tree. The same young man who had watched the train had climbed into the lowest branches of the maple. Carrying a long, nylon strap, he wound it, logger style, around branches to help him climb higher.
He moved confidently among the branches, like a modern-day Tarzan.
He kept exploring the largest branches. What was he doing?
But when he wrapped that nylon strap around one of the branches that extended horizontally, I got a horrible thought.
I shouted up to him in a friendly voice, “You’re not planning to hang yourself, are you?”
He laughed and said no. Then he turned and smiled, his handsome face radiant. “How’s your day going?”
I said “Wonderful, it’s beautiful day and I’m being very productive with my writing.”
“That’s what I’m planning to do in a few minutes.”
In another five minutes, he had hauled up a hammock and strapped it between the inside boughs of the maple tree. Wow, what a great idea. Now, if only I could be twenty-two again and have the agility to climb like that athletic young man.
I didn’t have the nerve to ask him what he was writing. Kind of wish I had, now.
My writing, the little boy’s exploration,
mothers watching their children, sailboats slicing through the cold waters of the Sound,
couples kayaking, people—childlike—watching a train,
the young tree-climber, preparing his writing studio for the day.
Thinking, expressing, exploring, observing, building.
I came home refreshed and filled with thankfulness for everyday human activity, and for God, Who has given us so many capabilities, among the chief: the capacity for enjoyment.