Leslie Bullitt

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She can’t remember how old she was when she began the walk with her parents, but it was always the same walk. They would head to the local wooded park, not far from their home. The walk consisted of a path through a forest filled with vibrant, lush vegetation, moss covered rocks, two small creeks and large overhanging trees. Mom would simply say “let’s go for our walk” and the girl would run up to her room and put on her “walking shoes” as she called them.

The walk would begin just off the parking lot with a narrow path that led through a thicket of trees. They would climb up the hill very slowly for a long time and, finally arrive at an opening. At the top of the hill, one could see most of park from this viewpoint. It was beautiful to see all the pines and deciduous trees that covered the land below. The girl would feel tall and happy that she had climbed the hill all by herself again. There, they would rest and munch on snacks and drink water. This is the spot where she would have time to explore rocks, blueberry bushes and look for feathers (she would eventually collect many).

By the time she started college, she would expect the walk on her visits home or during holidays. Even when she moved away, she would return home and look forward to the walk. The day after her mother passed away; she suggested the walk to her father. She could feel her mother’s presence as she climbed the hill that was lined with Maples, Beeches, Walnuts and other varieties of trees and plant life. She now knew the names of all the trees and plants. She had also learned most of the names of the birds she saw flying from limb to limb. It was during this walk that she could finally gather her thoughts and feelings about what to do next. It was as if the walk helped her figure out her next move.

Six years later, the little boy runs up the hill in an effort to be the first to arrive at the top. He is followed by two younger siblings who are doing their best to keep up with their older brother. Their mother yells at them to slow down and enjoy the view. Their mother walks alongside her husband taking in the scenery of trees, plants and rocks. There is still so much to take in and see after all these years! She takes a deep breath and feels the breeze running through the trees. She takes in the smell of the forest and lets out a long exhale. This is her place, her walk and now she gets to share the walk with future generations.


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