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Dictionary.com defines “satisfy” as “to fulfill the desires, expectations, needs, or demands of (a person, the mind, etc.); to give contentment to” or “to put an end to (a desire, want, need, etc.) by sufficient or ample provision”.

Late this afternoon Georgia told me she was taking the girls down to the river, and invited me to go, too. It being Earth Day and all, it seemed like a good way to finish satisfying our need to get out into nature (Olivia and I had watered the veggie garden earlier this morning). In my mind we would be casually walking down to the river’s edge (I knew there would be no water) and back home again…an easy 15-20 minutes. But Georgia had other ideas.

Georgia and the girls heading north towards the St. John's River, with Grammy (and the camera) trailing along behind.

Georgia and the girls heading north towards the St. John’s River, with Grammy (and the camera) trailing along behind.

When we got within shouting distance of the St. John’s River, Georgia took off across the street and down the path along the river. A sign posted just inside the pathway indicated that it was “1.6 miles from MacAuliffe Street to Ben Maddox Way” along the riverwalk. And we were already several blocks from home. Walking along side the river gave us a much better sense of just how dry it truly was.

There was no water at all.  None.

There was no water at all. None.

It wasn’t too long before Olivia’s short legs started getting tired, but she continued hopping and skipping between complaints. Her mom carried her a little ways as a refresher, but put her down again, letting her know there was a park up ahead. (And my heart sank a bit, as I knew how far away that park was.) There was a steady stream of walkers, bicyclists, and skaters all along the way, as well as an idiot zipping along on a quad with two little girls hanging onto the back and a toddler sitting in his lap.

We finally made it to the park, and the girls immediately made friends with a little boy playing on the teeter-totter. They enjoyed the slide, swings, and a funny zipline contraption until we realized how soon the sun would be setting and gathered them up for the return home.

We followed the St. John’s River Parkway back home, cutting through the high school and shortening the return trip significantly. We stopped to smell honeysuckle vines and roses along the way, and Olivia shared some ideas about how people throw down their trash in places they think are dead, even though there are bugs and plants there that deserve a clean home. Mom came to Olivia’s rescue with a short piggyback ride, just enough to freshen her legs to finish the walk.

Piggybacking on Mom.

Piggybacking on Mom.

Once we got onto the school grounds (with a good sidewalk), Olivia got rid of her shoes and went the rest of the way barefoot. It was fun to see the school from a different viewpoint; we drive by the front side several times a day, but always focused on where we are going…this walk took us past the ball fields, the swimming pool, and the stadium before we re-entered the neighborhood.

We could not have had more perfect weather for our Earth Day walk, nor more wonderful walking companions. It not only satisfied our need to get outside together for a little while, but gave us a relaxing time to visit with each other, away from the washing machine and other waiting chores.

I hope your Earth Day was filled with clean air and good companions, too.

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