I’ve just come in from an evening walk along the waterfront. One of the resident great blue herons sat on a concrete embankment, contemplating his dinner prospects in the water below.
Along the bridge I stopped to see if the red-winged blackbirds were scouting a nesting spot among the reeds. Last year the male regularly swooped down on walkers, trying to shoo them away from his young. The male who flew down tonight was so intent on a few crumbs on the railing that he walked to within a few feet of me and paid me no notice.
Further on, two turtles swam languidly, sometimes right down along the muddy bottom of the marsh, sometimes with their heads above the surface. All around them mallards and coots swam by in pairs and singles.
Piles of sand dotted the beach, ready for the parks department to spread them out in anticipation of visitors. The board walk around Waterfront Park had been repaired while I was in Australia. Fresh boards stood out among the weathered ones.
I crossed the lock and circled back around. Wind moved the spring-green leaves sprouting along the willows.
With each step I felt more fully at home. I recognized the different aromas of spring. Even the spots where the air was cooler or warmer were familiar, known. If smiles are a measure, others were feeling that same sense of belonging as they followed the pathways that wander through the marsh and along the waterfront.
Yesterday I read about a study that found that lakes and sea and forests were far more healing to our spirits than our city parks, no matter how lovely they may be. We need a touch of wildness. The lake at my doorstep offers that. So do the marsh and the nearby slopes of Knox Mountain.
I’ve lived many places but none more beautiful than this. I know I could live someplace else and, in time, would find those spots where my heart lifts, as it does here.
Though loved ones far away have carved places in my heart only they can fill, I am here now, and I am home.