I am, therefore I write

Random musings on my life and the world

Riverwalk Trail; and Miss G just because

This morning the daughter and I stayed local and took an hour-long walk along a small portion of our cities Riverwalk Trail system. Many surrounding communities have their own version of this walking/biking trail system, and the plan is that eventually all the trails will connect. This map shows the roughly 4 miles that we have in existence now, but eventually, when all the trails merge they will provide a north-south corridor that will go on for miles north of Seattle and south to Mt Rainier. I’m not including a map for that expanse, but trust me, it’s hundreds of miles.

The south end of the trail: some outstanding farmland

The south end of the trail: some outstanding farmland

Under the rail bridge

Under the rail bridge

Under the newer highway overpass. We have a very silt-clogged river

Under the newer highway overpass. We have a very silt-clogged river

Mural painted under the bridges

Mural painted under the bridges

This next one may be difficult to see but, as we were walking, I noticed a few homeless encampments on an overgrown sandbar across the river. On our way back that way, one of the campers was actually out of his tent, feeding some local ducks. I chose not to take his picture.

Washington is famous (at least among locals) for our blue tarps and camp equipment

You’re looking at the blue dot across the river. The rest of the camp is tucked behind the bushes

Looking up river...

Looking up river…

...and looking down river

…and looking down river

This is characteristic of the entire trail: paved, flat, and tranquil

This is characteristic of the entire trail: paved, flat, and tranquil

 

Now we can move on to Miss G.

She took her grandma Nina to visit with Thomas the Tank Engine yesterday before grandma hopped her plane back home today. Since Miss G was very little she has loved Thomas in book form and on the TV. Miss G also has a large, expanding Thomas crawl-through toy that sort of freaks her out. It’s spent more time folded up in her closet than being played with. I’ve never been quite sure if the problem lies in that she could crawl into and through this Thomas toy, or that his face is simply so large that it just is scary…kind of like weird clown scary if you know what I mean.

I think Miss G’s parents were slightly unsure how the adventure would turn out once she actually saw Thomas in person. They took a few pictures and noted that quite a few tears were involved, although we don’t see those in the pictures.

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Thomas tattoo

And finally, on the way home, an actually happy smile I think.

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

This morning, the daughter and I went for a nice walk in and around the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Less than 30 minutes from home, this is a place that neither of us had ever visited, perhaps because it is rather known for avian related nature more than anything. She just purchased a used copy of a field guide to local wildlife and attractions and was feeling the need to test out her skills I believe.

It turned out to be quite a gem. Most of the trails through the swampy forested area, and even well out into the salt-marsh, are really nice, man-made board walks. All of it is easily accessible for parents with little ones in strollers as well as anyone using a wheelchair. Well spent tax dollars went into this facility so that just about anyone can enjoy it.

It was lovely in the shaded areas, hot during the trek on gravel between the marsh forest and salt marsh environment, and relatively quiet for a week day.

In the pictures below are two great, looming, classic old barns. As we walked around them and peered into windows I was wondering out loud what the history of this area was. Leave it to the park system to include some area history on a marker just around the boardwalk turn as we left the barns and fields. This additional site talks about the history of the land and the closure of the barns themselves.

Views of the forest marshland

Views of the forest marshland

A sea of tiny lilypads

A sea of tiny lily pads

Side by side barns. Unseen just beyond is the man-made dike used to keep out salt water from Puget Sound

Side by side barns. Unseen just beyond is the man-made dike used to keep out salt water from Puget Sound

Part of the salt to fresh water estuary system

Part of the salt to fresh water estuary system

One small pocket of bamboo grove deep within the forest

One small pocket of bamboo grove deep within the forest

What we in these parts refer to as "skunk cabbage." Yes, it smells that bad

What we in these parts refer to as “skunk cabbage.” Yes, it smells that bad

At the lookout on the dike system. The boardwalk extends another mile to the mouth of the Nisqually  River

At the lookout on the dike system. The boardwalk extends another mile to the mouth of the Nisqually River way out at that forested point

 

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Some thoughts: heat, books, knowledge, anger, frustration & defeat

The heat wave mentioned in my last post is in full force. Temps around 90 seem to be the new norm here in (typically) moderate western Washington USA. No end is in sight as the extended forecast charts the temps to continue at mid 80′s level or above into the foreseeable future. This makes me grumpy.

Also, from past posts, I reviewed Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks recently, mentioning that she was originally a journalist who moved on to fiction writing.

**I do not feel in any way inclined to link back to these earlier posts so if you wish to review you’re own your own. I told you I was grumpy.

So impressed was I with her work that I quickly sought out her fiction and found all four of her novels, used and at relatively low price,  from Powell’s Books in Portland Oregon. I will link this site as Powell’s (if you don’t know it) is a gift to readers of any genre. Their inventory is amazing. If you ever find yourself in Portland Oregon and you have even the slightest interest in books GO THERE.  You will not be disappointed, however I would plan on at least a half day for uninterrupted browsing, more if you are truly a bibliophile.

The arrival of these books is proving to be slow. Powell’s can be slightly slow out of the gate when ordering online, something I’ve noted from prior purchases. Perhaps it simply takes them extra time to locate books from their floor to ceiling, entire city block inventory. In this case, as I am a mere 2 1/2 hour drive from this store, I am mildly kicking myself for not simply driving there. I do however find a minor thrill in receiving packages and, even with an air-conditioned car, have no real desire to swelter when not inside said car, so I wait with the hope that the package arrives tomorrow.

I am anxious because: the review of her latest novel is notable, and nothing else on my shelf seems to peak my interest right now. This second reason is located within a truly downtrodden set of mixed emotions regarding my place in the feminist scheme of things.

You all know by now that I spent two years with a decided focus on women (their marginalized, oppressed, and unequal status) as I worked through a Sociology degree. You also may know that I continue to be driven by issues that detail this social crisis focused on half of our population. To keep current I follow (regularly) a few national organizations devoted to women’s issues: NOW and The Feminist Majority. Facebook has also led me to numerous, smaller feminist organizations, e-zines, and such, some of which are better than others.

I admit that I found myself a bit overwhelmed with the numbers of such sites that were showing up in my news feed. The renewed affirmations that women are (mostly) still not worth squat in our society, gained from coursework and research in WGS and feminism during my degree, are (were) slapping me in the face constantly while I am online. The moderate amount of renewed knowledge, along with current status on this topic is important, don’t get me wrong. We (feminist women) need to speak on these issues, need to explore solutions, need to demand that change occurs.

Yet, when I pull out a book from my summer reading shelf that details feminist history, and read of activists (hysterical females) from the 1700′s, (Mary Wollstonecraft), and 1800′s, (Stanton, Anthony, Sanger, Gilman…), or add to that the references by Simone de Beauvoir of women such as 15th century author Christine de Pisan (Pizan), or 16th century feminist Modesta di Pozzo di Forzi, who were speaking out for and fighting against the very same things that feminists today are focused on and fighting for, it is obvious that oppression is alive and well and it can be labeled as woman. 

What that realization does is make me angry and frustrated and I want all of this to stop. It also makes me feel a strong aversion to reading of any more current women’s issues. I don’t want to hear any more news that highlights just how much things (life and liberty) have not changed for women in society, or how we seem to be taking greater steps backward, such as the right to control choices surrounding our bodies.

I don’t like this world. I don’t know when or if it will get better. I am angry, like all those women before me were angry and I’m tired of being told to settle for minuscule gains, or that women have come a long way.

No, we have not come a long way. We are still controlled by societies created and endowed by men to recognize the importance of a penis over all else.

I am also tired of being angry with each new days plethora of articles and insight focused on women’s issues. I feel defeated.  My ability to anticipate positive change is nil. I am jaded, and so I have removed the connections to feminist issues for now, for a needed break.

 

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