On the corner of Andresen and 72nd Street, two paradises await. If you blink on the way to Costco, Home Depot, or the mall, you may miss them. Both are well-hidden breaks from the hustle and bustle of the city and are not overused: the Curtin Springs Wildlife Habitat and The Crossroad Community Church Campus.
The Curtin Springs Wildlife Habitat is a 34-acre jewel donated by the previous owner, Elizabeth Swanson in 2016 to remain a wildlife sanctuary for our posterity. I have visited twice, once alone while my husband did some investigating and purchasing at Home Depot, and once this last spring. I took my son and his friend for an afternoon low-impact “hike.” They were fascinated by the natural playground and sheds, as well as the small hills to jump off.
As for me, I was mesmerized by the lyrics nature composed before my eyes. It felt wonderful to be outdoors awakening with the earth! We wandered through paths between tall grass. Nesting birds zipped through the sky above us on their way to manmade birdhouses, instinct causing our presence to be seemingly oblivious. The spring sun shone bright and hot and the trees along 72nd Street provided respite from the heat. Recent rains plus the wetland habitat formed cool puddles in juxtaposition to the intense rays and caused us to continually move our “troop” from a single file to three across.
My reverie ended when, to my horror, the children under my care began to sneeze uncontrollably, particularly my son’s friend. If you have allergies, especially to grasses, please take medication beforehand! Fortunately, I got him home in time and phoned his mom on the way so she was ready with his medication as soon as we walked in the door.
Curtin Springs is a delightful step back in time, with the bonus of returning immediately to the present simply by stepping off the property and onto the road. I left out a great deal as there is SO much to explore. A few photos here may tell the story, but why not visit on your own and see what wonders it holds?
A few items of note: The home on the property is occupied, so please do not take photos from the porch, etc. There is also an orchard on the property, so beware of bees in late autumn. More information can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH0RWu47N-U
Children will naturally explore and Curtin Springs is a great place to adventure!
One of the many birdhouses at the habitat and a delightful tangle of buttercups give the eye a pleasing rest from the visual cacophony of the surrounding city at the Curtin Springs Wildlife Habitat.
Crossroads Community Church Campus
In 2005, I found myself in need of a new church. I walked into Crossroads, heard Dr. Bill Ritchie for the first time, and knew I’d found a home. The church people were loving and the grounds were magnificent. I would park in the back parking lot, make my way over a large footbridge, and be greeted by the sound of rippling water and the welcoming chit-chat of the chickadee or the humorous quack of ducks. For 8 years, the church worked with my spirit, but their grounds worked with my soul. One night, a friend and I drove over to the campus at sunset because we needed a quiet place to talk. If you have never seen a blackbird swinging on a cattail with an emblazoned sky behind, you are missing out. My sweet friend and I shared a moment that will forever be one of my “picture memories.”
These glorious grounds provide space for reflection and prayer in a safe setting. I took a quick photo on the way home from Advanced Liquidators. I am uncertain when the grounds are open, but if you are in the area, it’s definitely worth a stop. Tell the birds Tammy sent you!
A small taste of the natural beauty at Crossroads Community Church
I would like to dedicate this blog to two people who have made far more of an impact on my life than they are aware-
To Bill Ritchie, thank you; thank you for speaking into the life of a scared woman. For eight years it was my privilege to hear you teach, the words going from your mouth into my heart. Thank you for providing such a beautiful place to come to each Sunday. If it wasn’t for you, I would not have met my husband, have my son, or now be under the teaching of my current pastor, Rob Lloyd.
To Della, my friend with whom I shared that sunset. My last years of being single were sweeter because of you. Thank you for every word, hug, and story from your childhood.
Reader, explore fearlessly, dream big, and travel and buy local.
That is all for now.