i bring the scion to a stop inside fort vancouver national park former army barracks and officer’s row to the right and a replica of fort vancouver trading post (back to the days of lewis and clark) to the left. transmission left in gear, engine off, and parking brake engaged whew glad to have this work in the history books as here in the nw it was hot but humid, my tank top drenched in sweat.
climbing out of the compartment i stand stretching and make a 360 degree turn scouting the surrounding grounds, can it be on this hot and sticky summer evening, yes it is not a soul in the park i have it to myself; no one hiding in the shade of the many doug firs, no silhouettes gathered around sparse pinic tables. after a long day of fighting traffic and mingling with the public i am ecstatic. i unpack walking shoes and sleeveless shirt in the scion one never knows when a evening walk arises and as the cub scout motto brags: “always be prepared.”
with great effort i push off both shoes and the let the blowing wind whip them dry, yank off the polo shirt and the same breeze whisks away accumulated sweat, i fall back onto the open hatch and relax, chug about a pint h2o, slip on the sleeveless shirt and shoes headinh off into the hot, moist evening. i locked the scion first of course.
the path i will take goes along the front of the fort a few feet the bulwarks and to get there i pass by a garden of flowers and vegetables created to give the modern individual an idea of the type of garden plowed back in the fur trading days. so i am digging the warmth of sun, sweat ( but not work day sweat oh no this is pleasure sweat, relaxing sweat: there is a difference) the wind blowing through the small orchard (again created for modern times) and tall, sun dried grass when serendipitously out of the corner of my unsuspecting eye i am stopped dead in my tracks partially startled and partially amazed there hiding behind a yellow fire hydrant a hawk. not up on birds i am not sure the type but it does not matter i stare, it stares, i stare, back again and then it hits me this guy/gal is in the shade of the hydrant, getting out of the sun, the heat, but not that humidity this is inescapable. anyhow a pause for a minutes, wow nature.
stepping lively now after the encounter i continue along the fort, through the orchard, across a land bridge over state highway 14, thrill in watching a private plane, take off from nearby pearson air field (not airport) scream over me obliviously going to a destination. if that is not enough to make one forget the day as i walk down the land bridge to my left are the tracks of the bnsf railroad and what is sitting ready to move forward nothing other than a lllooonnngg freight train engines idling 10 feet from my ears. as the land bridge descends back down from the heights over the roadway i stare up at the huge drive wheels, then, as if the engineer waited just for me he starts the mighty engine to moving. for a moment i am child again watching freight trains fly by grandmother lulu’s home in nothern michign, excitement consumes as myself and siblings race to tracks to gather up candy the conductor in the caboose tosses.
turning away from the bridge there it is the sparkling waters of the columbia river, i wonder what lewis and clark might say viewing it today with all the sailboats, yachts, and wave runnings cutting there way through wave after wave. pausing along the promenade i view the interstate bridge (see: loving the art of photography, part deux) check the shoreline spying three males and one female wet from head to toe and now drying under the evening sun. moving slow under the bridge a speed boat, more racing, works against the river keeping up power just enough, further along captains zig then zag sailboats left then right; fun in the evening.
time for home as the sweat of work and pleasure have layered so much i look to a lukewarm shower; the walk back is highlighted with a stop by the fire hydrant where i find the hawk has flown the coop or was he/she even there i ponder as it seemed to good to true that i got within inches. throat parched now i reach and unlock the scion, pull out of the cooler i keep for work a bottle of chilled water and drink while leaning over the open car door; more people in the park then when i arrived, ok as i am heading out and home batteries recharged and ready for the next day. BOOYA!