Last Saturday morning I sat at my parents kitchen table for the last time, my mind racing with all the things I had to do before hopping on a plane that evening. I had a box to pack for the post office, my suitcase was overflowing, I had a little work to schedule while I flew, I had a lunch with my mom, my last clothes to fold out of the dryer, a shower, I had a very, very long list.

“Toiny? Want to go on a walk?” My dad interrupted my thought train. Did I want to? Yes! Should I? Probably not. But it was my last chance to walk with my dad until who-knows-when. On a walk I went. Around my favorite lake, on an absolutely beautiful day.

My dad had had the dratted kidney stone pulverized on Tuesday, blasted by a laser, and he hadn’t felt great all week. It was a complete joy to have him ask for a walk. It meant he was feeling better. It meant this whole nightmare was really, truly behind us.

My dad drove to the lake, another sign that he really was becoming his old self once again, and we slow-walked from the parking lot together. Once at the waters edge we each went our own way. Me clockwise all the way around the lake, my dad counterclockwise 1/4 of the way to his favorite bench. I’d meet him, and together we’d slow walk back to the car.

I stepped off spry, happy, warm but not hot. I tried to soak up every last detail, every last smell. The walk around the lake is filled with familiar little landmarks. First where we’d seen the toad on my first week here, then the super ferny area between the path & the lake, followed by the little dock to see the lilypads, the path where the marmot (?) ran across, turtle bay, beaver dam, the swamp, the golf course, where my sister saw the snake, turtle tree, the stinky area, the hill, and down to my dad’s favorite bench.

Along the way I ran across some of the other regulars and waved hi & good morning! I will miss them too. Little did they know how much I’d come to love waving hello at them. I wonder if they miss me yet?

I so wanted to see the lilypads in bloom

One last goodbye to my favorite turtles

So. Many. Turtles.

I will miss all this green

and the ferns, I will miss the ferns!

For how many golf courses there are, this is the only golf course photo I took.

I will miss walking this beautiful sandy path.

I will even miss the creepy swamp!

I never did get to see Mr. Beaver.

Me, The Child & Cole flying to New Mexico.