Walk #2 – Les Gove Park – Auburn, WA

A Writing Experiment with My Phone’s Camera: Inspired by reading Sixty Morning Walks by Andy Fitch, and by the photographic walks of Richard Long

by Debi

(if you missed the first installment:  Walk #1 – Roegner Park)

WALK #2 – Les Gove Park
Auburn, Washington
12:45pm to 1:15pm
Saturday – January 17, 2015

Maybe I should start this off by saying I was planning on taking a morning walk again.  But … rain.  Lots of rain.  So I waited for it to ease off.  Which it did not.  Finally decided to remove the snuggly warm happy purring cat from my lap  (oh, the horrors!), put on my raincoat, and buck it up.  I’m a native Seattle-ite, after all.  I will not melt in rain.

Water Park (2)I parked right by the water playground.  Looks so lonely and deserted on this rainy day in January.  The only person nearby is pacing (doing the potty dance?) outside the porta-potty.  I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate knowing I was writing about his potty dilemma.  Hey, at least I didn’t take your picture.  Consider yourself lucky.

Another walk in a park in Auburn, another day of memories from my kiddos early childhoods.  We lived a block from Les Gove Park.  Contrary to popular pronunciations, it’s Gove (no “r”), not “Grove.”  It’s someone’s name (a former mayor of Auburn), not a description of trees in the park.

old play structure (2)There are so many new play structures throughout the park.

During the early days of pushing my two youngest in the double stroller while my oldest rode her bike with training wheels, the main play equipment at Les Gove was the wooden structure that’s now off to the side and nearly forgotten.  My kids learned to do the Monkey Bars and to slide down slides and to swing on swings on what is now considered out-dated and boring.  I bet if you asked my now-grown kids if Les Gove was boring back then, you’d hear a resounding, “No way!”

counting rocks (2)But I love the new play equipment, too.  It’s safe, educational, artistically designed, and looks super fun.  I would love to be a child here.

Sorry for that brief digression down memory lane.  Back to walking.  The rain has eased off a little bit, but I’m glad for my hooded raincoat.

teepee legs (2)Several small groups of 20-something men are huddled under trees, perhaps trying to stay dry.  Actually I’m not quite sure what they’re doing.  They eye me from a distance while I take pictures of the play stuff.  Are they worried I’m taking photos of their “activities”?

A squirrel runs by, stops to see if I have anything for him, then scurries up a tree.  No bird sounds right now.  Not even crows.  I can see seagulls in the grass at the other end of the park, but they’re all quietly feeding.  Sounds of rain on my water-resistant hood.

xylophone (2)I wander over to the xylophone in the play area. Attempt to play Do-Re-Mi but it’s not tuned for that.  It’s lovely, though.  Whatever I play sounds beautiful, even though it’s essentially musical nonsense.

A man on the trail stops and listens for a moment.  Embarrassed, I stop playing.  I know if I’d been a small child, having an audience would’ve increased the pleasure rather than motivating me to stop playing.  At what point did I lose fearlessness and become concerned about others’ judgments?

Loki (2)The wood craving of a bear with an eagle on its head reminds me of a shaggy “Loki” when viewed from the back.  Makes me smile.

Passing the Bocce courts. I first learned about Bocce ball from a classmate at Green River Community College a number of years ago who shared a “how-to” speech about how to play her family’s favorite game.  I immediately went out and bought my son a set for his birthday and it quickly became our family’s favorite park game, too.

bocce courts (2)Back on the trail, a woman on crutches walks toward me.  We nod to each other as we pass and I say, “Hi.”  She smiles, glances at the rain, and says, “It’s a nice day for ducks.”

Which is highly appropriate because I’ve been singing in my head the song “Rubber Ducky” this entire walk (thank you ever so much, Facebook friends). Funny how the only sentence spoken to me on this walk lines up with the song playing in my head.

Why, yes, it is a nice day for ducks.  Even the “ear worm” variety.

the hill (2)Wow. Here’s the “hill” we used to play on when the kids were little.  It seems so small now.  When the kids were tiny, this was a giant hill for them and even hard to walk up and down without tipping over.  I remember them rolling down the hill, laughing.  Grass stains, dandelion tufts in their hair.  Ah, yes.  I treasure those memories now.  It seemed at the time those days would last forever.

paved trail (2)When we walked from our former house to the park “back in the day,” we had to go “off-road” with the stroller and our bikes to get to the path, but now there’s an actual park entrance and paved section right where we used to cut through.  Nice for the families in the neighborhood.

Worn out signage about water-efficient plantings and storm drainage.  I appreciate signs like this.  I wonder who’s in charge of upkeep of the signs?  Does anyone besides me actually read Park Rules signs?

climbing wall (2)My youngest daughter always loved climbing the rock wall at the Supermall.  Too bad the climbing wall at the park wasn’t here when we lived in Auburn before.

A couple with their shaggy blonde dog pass me.  The dog wants to give me kisses, but his people pull on his leash and say, “NO!  Heel!”  Doggie and I both look sadly at each other.  No doggie kisses for me.  I think it annoyed them that I was pleased when the dog showed me attention.  They obviously wanted him to just walk quietly at their side and not acknowledge anyone else or be playful.  I’ve noticed parents who treat their kiddos the same way.  “NO, Bobby!  Heel!”

les gove poem (2)Poetry in the park.  Auburn has a Poet Laureate?  Why did I not know this?  Hm.  Wonder what’s involved with becoming a Poet Laureate of a small town?

Two high school aged young men go by on skateboards.  One is being pulled along by his dog.  A modern sled dog.

White River Museum (2)I wonder what displays are at the White River Historical Museum right now?  Love this little museum.  Need to look into what sort of volunteer opportunities they have.  Now, that’s something I’d love to do.  Volunteer in a local history museum and work with kids.  Hm.  Food for future thought and research, me thinks.

Big Daddy's (2)Love the new library, but we thoroughly enjoyed the old one and used it constantly.  It was so nice living around the corner from a library when I was a young mom of little kiddos with no car.  We never felt stranded when the park, the library, and the ice cream was all just an easy walk away.

Here I am back to the water park.  Big Daddy’s is closed down.  I wonder if it’ll re-open at some point?  We used to stop by and get soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones on hot summer days when we were at the park.

car door (2)There used to be a wading pool where the water park is now.  We spent many afternoons splashing in that pool.  I wonder which is more fun for kids?  Splashing and pretending to swim in the wading pool or playing with the spray fountains?

End of the walk.  About to step into my car when I hear overhead a distinctive “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” in the tree above my car.  I can’t see the birds, but it’s nice to know the chickadees are around.

It’s been a quiet walk today.  Just a few people, a couple of dogs.  Contrary to the way I was feeling before I left the house (and the warmth of the sleeping cat), I need to remember that rainy days are actually very good walking days.

Up Next:  Walk #3 – Game Farm Park, Auburn WA