Jim Teeters is a local Kent resident along the Soos Creek Trail that has been walking the trail for over twenty years. A self-described “poetry ambassador”, Jim has conducted poetry workshops for children and adults and is active in poetry readings in the Seattle area through the Striped Water Poets.
The Soos Creek Trail has been a source of health and inspiration to him and his wife and he hopes others will find themselves inspired on their walks as well. We met up briefly at the Gary Grant Soos Creek Park on a beautiful autumn day.
I walked a short stretch after Jim had left and found myself inspired by the incredible beauty and diversity of the trail around me. Some of the same smells, sights, and sounds that Jim mentions in his poems were there too, along with new delights for the senses.
My first clue we’re done with winter’s ravage
The yellow blossoms of the Skunk Cabbage
My heart sings when I see their beauty swell
Their golden hues emerge before their smell
Yes, their putrid odor makes my heart sing
The irony of their stink brings us spring
Even in fall I could see, if not smell the slow decay of spring’s Skunk Cabbage. Around a bend a Stellar Jay yelled his way into the sky, admonishing me for sneaking up on him. I recalled his appearance in another of Jim’s poems.
As I walk early this morning
the high half-moon
nibbles away at the few remaining stars
or was it the other way around?
a Steller’s jay preached a raucous sermon
of heavenly promises
for those who repent and
turn from unnatural desires
The dark trees raised their lacy hands
to signal their conversion
The leaf-strewn serpentine trail
twisted away and I follow
suddenly aware of my hands
pushed deep into my jacket pockets.
Walking the Soos Creek Trail seems to slow time down. The steady step of your feet. The swing of your arms. Your breath in and out. Sometimes a quick wave or hello from those passing by. I can see how Jim’s source of inspiration is infectious.
The Little Things
I walk the wooded trail
worry, dreadful thoughts
Ask the sky:
What am I to learn today?
pink wild roses
against verdant backdrop
Some wide open some
let petals fall
other tiny buds
wait to open
If you’re looking to be inspired, or just for a quiet walk down an easy trail wild with life, come take a stroll down the Soos Creek Trail, and if you happen to see its resident poetry ambassador, say hello.
Jim Teeters is the author of several poetry collections and the book Teach with Style (ATD Press July 2013). Jim is a retired social worker and former child care licensor and trainer, he’s the poetry guy at Kent Senior Center, a member of the Striped Water Poets critique group in Auburn, and facilitates a weekly poetry workshop at KentHOPE Homeless Shelter for Women. He currently lives in Kent, Washington.