"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hardcore Walking Momma

I wondered if anyone read this blog, except for the folks I’ve sent it to, when I received a surprise email a couple of weeks ago from an old housemate of mine, Jeannie Leslie. We used to hike the San Francisco hills—always the hills for their vantage points—and sit on the top, often at sunset because we both worked during the day, and we'd look at the City in the purple and gold light. Seven years passed since we’d been in touch. And then she found me through Hill Babies, perhaps the best thing about this blog for me.

Now she has two children, a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, plus one in the oven. She walks all over the place, choosing not to have a car. Her kids prefer hills and staircases to flat lands. “Stop at the next tree,” she tells them as they run up a hill, and they listen. Then her little girl wants to be carried, so Jeannie squats down, lifting her daughter and her four-month-old, unborn baby up the steepest part of Dolores Street. And she's able to continue a conversation, while I huff and puff with only one fat baby to contend with. 

Jeannie’s a tremendous mom, aside from being a hardcore walker, just unlike any I’ve met. She birthed her two kids at home—her man Duncan delivered the second one before the midwife arrived. She befriends the fruit sellers at the farmer’s markets, gathering bruised produce to make marmalade to spread on homemade muffins. She raises two fat chickens in her backyard of her rented flat in Noe Valley, eating eggs on Wednesday with the neighbor kids. Finally, she and Duncan homeschool their oldest child, one of the smartest and most nature-aware kids I’ve met.

Here’s to many good hikes in the City with my old friend, now a fellow mother, Jeannie Leslie! I look forward to our conversations, the lofty feeling of being on top of a hill with the City spread out below us, and seeing our children play outside.