I love going on walks. I like the idea of exercising, and I like how I feel afterwards, but I don’t think I’ll ever really belong to a gym again. I’d much rather be outside and breathing fresh air and hanging out at the park. I have a couple of parks I like to go to, Hidden Lakes in MTZ and Newhall right by my house in Concordland. I like to see little families and imagine what their lives might be like, and climb one big hill and feel it in my butt and lose my breath a little, look at a view, and wear cute workout clothes and my nifty ShapeUps. I love spending more time making a playlist for my walk than actually walking. All these things are good.
When I go to Hidden Lakes Park, I can feel childhood washing over me in waves….I remember so many soccer practices and games there, the squish of the muddy spots and the smell of grass, and Capri Suns and orange slices. I remember the playground and how cool kids would always hang out at the top of the slide, where it was a little hide away spot, and you would feel really embarassed to want to actually go down the slide and have to go past them, and I can feel the heat from the metal on the slide, and the static from going down the tunnels, and hear the clanking of the little bridge they have. I remember baby sitting kids and pushing them in those death-trap swings, and panicking when I couldn’t pull them out because of their chubby legs. And hanging out at the picnic tables for youth group, playing frisbee and capture the flag, and finding cigarette butts in the sand volleyball courts.
The hill at Hidden Lakes was like a giant mountain when I was younger. It seemed to take hours and several rest stops to get to the top of it, and there are rocks on the hills where you would find a stick and try to carve your name into them, or if we were playing Indians we would try to carve holes so that we could crush corn and make corn meal. And gather weeds to weave into baskets. We would try to catch lizards that were sleeping on the rocks, and one time we found one with no tail! It was so rad.
There are awesome trees up there for climbing, and I clearly remember the first time I ever saw or smelled someone smoking pot was up in one of those trees, and I was with two friends and I wanted to go tell an adult to call the police. I think I was like 10.
In high school we would walk down the paths to the hidden lakes and do photography class shoots there, or use them as sets for wacky Spanish videos we would make, and you could pretend to go fishing. I always thought those paths were so shady and slightly chilly and romantic in some way, and wanted to get lost in them.
I used to walk this park every day when I was looking for a job. And there was one couple I remember, and older Japanese couple, that were either always holding hands and being very loving, or fighting. The woman wore the same blue sweatpants and flip flops and a visor every time I saw them. There was something wrong with her husband…maybe a stroke or an injury of some kind, and he would have to shuffle along very slowly, with very stiff legs. She would always be encouraging him to try to go faster…she would walk ahead at a normal pace and then walk back and try to prod him along, and he would say something in Japanese that sounded like he meant “aw cmon leave alone! I’m a getting I’m a getting!” and swat at her and she would swat at him and then huff off and lap him. It always cracked me up. When they weren’t bugging each other, they would hold hands or link arms, and she would slow down to his shuffle pace and sometimes put her head on his shoulder. They would point out flowers and birds to each other. And I wondered how long they had been married, and if they had kids, and what had happened to the husband, and if they still made each other laugh.
When I decide to grow up and get married, and we have kids and then we get old, I hope we go on walks and swat each other and hold hands. And then go home and be in bed by 7pm. That sounds like a nice life.