There are walks. There are woods. Then there are walks in the woulds. Like at southwest Washington’s Makarenko Park. Its 39 acres offer a great outdoor excursion and one of the most interesting historical backdrops in Grays Harbor County.
Kimber noses what is doubtless a delightful smorgasborg of outdoor scents while I grab her halter and leash. “Heel!” I say. She comes running. Sits at my left side. I snap her into her leash. Off we go.
Would you guess that this park was once home to “living works of art” a la the famed Spanish Riding School, home to the world famous Lipizzaner stallions? That its history includes a Russian military major and former cavalry officer?
Strolling around this conifer-ringed park in the morning calm, peace descends like a curtain. The one-mile park course is mostly level and well-shaded. It’s also rich in “awes” for those with sharp eyes and ears.
Varied thrushes tune up for choir practice. A barn owl swoops silently overhead. Kimber senses it long before I do and tries to give chase.
Meanwhile, purple asters and lupine elbow yellow cinquefoil and scarlet mountain paintbrush for Best Dressed honors. Dewy and cool, the air is redolent with rich red earth and growing things.
I would stay here all day if I could. Except for the marauding mosquitoes. They whir past my ears like a squadron of blood-thirsty Hueys.
Mosquitoes notwithstanding, there’s something therapeutic and restorative about a walk in the woods, isn’t there? Something you don’t get at the office, the mall or the gym. In a movie theatre or restaurant. On-line.
Is it the quiet? The solitude and serenity? The chance to think, unhurried and undistracted? The kaleidoscopic bursts of flora and fauna around virtually every corner?
Four turns around the park later, the sun comes out. I shed my wind breaker. Pour out some water for Kimber. Grab the Frisbee and get ready for a game of fetch.
What would Maj. Makarenko do on a morning like this? I wonder as Kimber chases the mini ‘flying saucer’ and brings it back. And:
Would the Major exercise his horses here, in this daisy-clad meadow ringed by conifers? Would his house have burned down if a sturdier fire department was close by? What would Cosmopolis be without Makarenko Park?
Intrigued by this quiet, picturesque park – my favorite in the entire county – I researched and wrote a story on it for local media awhile back. You can read that story at: ‘Horse Around’ in History at Cosmopolis’ Makarenko Park.
Call it a walk in the woulds.