“Give me solitude, give me Nature, give me again O Nature your primal sanities!” – Walt Whitman

Cougar Mountain

We like to believe that keeping our parks clean, safe and open is doing a service to our community. We get up every morning and go to work for an agency we truly believe in. Admittedly though, you can put your head down and just get caught up in the day to day. It’s mail like this, and the fact someone took the time to share it, that pulls our head up out of the weeds and reminds us of the bigger picture. That there is someone out there, in some phase of their life, that is quietly appreciating a portion of our 28,ooo acre system. They are reflecting. It reminds us that we are extremely fortunate to work for this park system and know that a fern we may have relocated as we laid out a trail, a branch we removed for cyclists’ safety, unlocking the doors to our aquatic center, a freshly mowed lawn, a tree planting – any or all of it may have touched someone at the moment they needed it. For this we are grateful.

This is a letter to all of those who work at the King County Parks department.  Please feel free to circulate this as you deem appropriate.

We are lucky to live in a gorgeous part of the country and our parks are jewels.  In the past, I haven’t been able to use them as much as I would like.  Lately, I’ve had lots of time.  I was laid off about nine months ago and am still looking for a job.  Needless to say, it can get a little depressing.  I went into one of the darkest phases of my life in recent history and then … it happened.

I started going to Cougar Mountain park on a regular basis.  Usually, I go around 7:30 or 8:00am in the morning.  I started going to just get out of the house so my wife wouldn’t see me depressed.  I started going on short trails and gradually went to longer and longer routes.  I am now losing weight, enjoying the beauty of the park, feeling grateful and re-energized in my job search.  My little “hiking therapy” sessions turned me around 180 degrees in the past month.  For this, I want to say “thank you” to everyone in your department.

Parks are not just a place to play, but also a place to reflect and, in my case, heal and recover.

I don’t know where I would be right now if it weren’t for those trails and the time I’ve spent on them.  Thank you for your work, thank you for doing a VERY important job and thank you for helping me.  You will never truly know what you’ve done for me but I had to express my gratitude.  Your parks save people (at least saved me).

With gratitude,

J

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