Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Walk

Verdigris River

Around three o'clock this afternoon, after a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at the Armory with at least 150 other Amazon workampers and former workampers, I felt a little sleepy. When my son the produce specialist phoned, he assured me the sleepiness wasn't only the result of the tryptophan in turkey, but was also caused by the much larger amount of food we usually eat on Thanksgiving. It makes sense, but my head was still drooping, so I decided to take my second walk of the day--and I don't even have a dog!

The area around Walter Johnson Park in Coffeyville is a perfect place to walk. It has very little traffic, it's quiet, and there's a lot to see. Although I usually stroll around the perimeter of the park, including on the levee next to the river, today I decided to explore the baseball field first. Taking a seat at the top of the bleachers, in the tenth row, I imagined baseball players running out of the stands of oak and pecan trees, kind of like the players appearing from the cornfield in "Field of Dreams," one of my favorite movies. Maybe Walter Johnson himself would pitch. Although the end of November in Kansas is no longer baseball season, the grassy outfield is a brilliant, lush green. It wasn't hard to hear the cheering fans, smell the hotdogs cooking, and see how the game was going on the large scoreboard above the outfield fence. But, the game was over - time to continue my walk.

I crossed the street to walk next to a field filled with huge rolls of hay. In Oregon, they're usually wrapped in white plastic and look exactly like gigantic marshmallows. I've always wanted to find a couple of large graham cracker-colored squares of something along with some dark chocolate-brown oozy stuff. Wouldn't it be fun to drive down a country highway and see a big, delicious-looking s'more out there in a field?

A flock of geese cruised by overhead, honking to let me know they were there. Pecan and oak leaves fluttered across my feet with the slight breeze. The sky was gray, not a brilliant blue as yesterday. It's supposed to rain a little tonight.

Continuing my walk, I headed to the levee next to the Verdigris River, a usually fairly placid body of water. But, last summer that river overflowed its banks after a month of steady rain, flooding most of the eastern part of Coffeyville. As if that wasn't enough, "a malfunction allowed the oil to spill from the Coffeyville Resources refinery on Sunday, while the plant was shutting down in advance of the flood heading toward it on the Verdigris River." There was so much destruction and horrible watery goo that the refinery bought most of the destroyed homes and tore them down. What's left is block after block of empty fields, most of them still with concrete foundations from those houses.

The levee extends along the river for several miles and provides a wonderful view of the river, the park, and some of the nearby businesses in Coffeyville. It's pretty unbelievable how the river got as high as it did.

While walking, I thought some Thanksgiving Day thoughts. I'm thankful for the privilege of being here with so many friendly people in a beautiful place, somewhere I've never been before. I'm grateful that I'm healthy and able to travel from place to place like this. I'm thankful for my family around the country: in Oregon, Ohio, California, and Washington. I'm so very glad my mother and aunt are still living, active, and in good health. I'm grateful for my almost-three-year-old-granddaughter in Washington whom I've never seen, at least not yet. I still have hope for a thaw between my daughters and me. I'm thankful that my ex-husband has found a new wife and extended family with whom he's very happy. And I'm thankful for my wonderful friend Lou, without whom I'd never have discovered my love of the desert nor realized how much it's possible to care for someone.

I hope all of you have had a great Thanksgiving Day with lots of delicious food, friendship, and fun. I hope your favorite football team won. And I hope the rest of the holidays are just as fine for you.


Yarntangler said...

I'm so thankful I've met you. You see so much that's around us and help us to see it as well.
God bless you.

spiritualastronomer said...

Thank you--I try. Most of it comes from being lucky enough to not having to spend most of my waking hours staring at a scanner and seeing nothing but concrete floors and merchandise at Amazon.