The number one thing I loved about Austin was Lady Bird Lake. Despite the bicyclists, the dogs, and the traffic from the bridge – it felt peaceful there. I used to walk there with a woman I met when I first moved to Austin, a dyke with short spiked hair and a freshly broken heart. She wanted to get down to hunting weight, and she wanted me to run with her. That was my introduction.
I was amazed at its loveliness. Lady Bird Johnson, who had a passion for natural landscaping, helped design the natural hiking trails and beautification of the area with the addition of native plants in the 1970s.
My husband and I used to walk there in the morning, before we were married. We would hold hands and just walk. It was harder to get there after we had the girls. We still made it there from time to time. For dates, during lunch breaks. The trail loops around and is a little over two miles long. Lady Bird Lake is where we were when we first talked about moving to Costa Rica. Something about walking in beautiful surroundings is that it allows your conversations to get deeper. So after walking for about a half hour, we talked about what we would do if one of us died. I think we passed a memorial bench. There are a lot of them there. He said he would probably move the girls to Costa Rica if I died. And that’s when I said, “Why wait for me to die?” And that’s when it all started.
In Costa Rica, in the town where we live, there is green beauty all around, and bumpy dirt roads all the way up and down the mountain. Every morning my daughter and I walk to her school. It takes about thirty minutes with her, then fifteen minutes back. Our conversations are deeper, richer. She tells me how much she misses her friends in Austin. She tells me why she sometimes likes her dad more than me. She tells me how much she loves Costa Rica. She tells me I’m a little like a super hero because I’ve pushed a baby out. She tells me she wants to be a teenager because they are so nice and look cute. She tells me she wishes she could be more like boys because they get to have cooler stuff. And I can choose when to blend, when to guide, when to gently broaden her perspective. It’s so easy because she’s there, and I’m there. Sometimes she holds my hand the whole way. Sometimes we walk quietly, or she walks a little behind me so she can pretend she’s walking alone. If I’m close enough, and the birds aren’t chirping too loudly, I can hear her singing.