Take A Walk: Nisaqually Wildlife Refuge

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

 -John Muir

When I was five years old I took a walk, with my mother and some of her friends, on a gravel path through wet grasses and twiggy trees. It felt rather dull to me at the time – sure, there were a lot of birds, but I could hear more of them than I could see. The colors were mostly varieties of brown, and mosquitoes were eating me.

That was my meet-cute with the Niqually Wildlife Refuge.

Nisqually is the name of a glacier on Mt. Raineer, a watershed, a river, a first nation tribe, and my cat.  While staying at a friend’s cabin in the Cascades, I read a book on the Salish languages. It defined the word Nisqually in this way:

The tops of  herbs and flowers dancing in the wind.

Through school trips, excursions with friends, and the simple desire to take a walk, the Nisqually River Delta has become on of my favorite places.  The meaning of it’s name is apt – wide, flat, wetland that it is.  The five mile loop trail has been returned to an estuary with a beautifully constructed boardwalk.   The grasses are still there, but have been allowed to give way to mud flats, sloughs,  salt and freshwater marshes, and estuaries.  The birds still sing, perch, and play – more visible than ever before.  Native wildlife and plants flourish.

A week ago, while visiting, the herons were hunting, the bald eagles were resting on snags, the frogs and rabbits were hopping, the flowers blooming, and the bird watchers were tightly grasping at their binoculars as they tried to quietly clop along the boardwalk.

It is a magical, healing environment – ideal for conversation with a dear friend, or silence with yourself.  The birds are a beautiful distraction or a teacher…whatever you need.

Give yourself a walk – have some beauty with your bread.


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