Remembering days when we played hide and seek
in the parking lot at Mount Rainier on summer nights –
my fellow park employees and I slithering
under trucks and dodging behind cars
and laughing so hard our bellies hurt.
Or we might go looking for bears on the trails
in the evenings – hoping we wouldn’t actually
find any, but enjoying the idea of it –
my friend, Dan, pulling me in front of him
for protection, as we encountered imaginary beasts.
We were young. The world was full of adventure
and laughter, and daring-do.
Forty years have brought changes –
marriage, motherhood, responsibilities.
My body seems more matronly than springy
these days. I will be entering my sixth decade
in a few weeks. I felt some trepidation about this.
Would I never have another adventure?
Were the dazzling days of daring-do done?
I went for a walk around the lake yesterday.
I wanted more. Walked from old town to the park.
I wanted more. Walked from the park to downtown,
and back again. Then Scott came home with an idea:
Let’s walk the trail to the beach when the sun sets.
I was all stretched out from nine miles of walking,
and ready for more. A walk in the evening cool.
Darkening trail, lovely roots and rocks to climb
smell of fir and cedar and briny bay
and the sunset – brilliant reds and golds
and blue filling my eyes in the west as the full
moon rises in the east, shimmering silver on the sea.
Crashing waves, sparkling light from sun and moon,
peace and perspective from the stars dotting the above.
And then flashlights come out of our pockets
and we find our way back through the woods,
rocks and roots, joking about what we’d do
if big eyes glowed towards us at eye level down the trail –
and we’re laughing and brave and young again.
The adventures haven’t ended.
There are still dazzling days of daring-do.
– Karen Molenaaar Terrell