Special Reports

Slow down, enjoy the views

It’s easy to take Point Defiance Park for granted.

Sometimes our lives are so buried by the trappings of modern life – electronic gadgets, responsibilities, traffic jams, deadlines, reality TV – that we forget how peaceful it is to walk through an old-growth forest. We stop noticing eagles commanding the skies at sunset or the intricate webbing of a single autumn leaf.

Sometimes we need to take the time to appreciate what we have. Luckily for me, I was assigned that task.

Over the past year, I’ve made thousands of photos at Point Defiance Park, documenting its natural splendor, family traditions and annual events. I’ve tromped down every trail and considered the park from a boat, a plane, a train and a kayak. We’ve compiled some of my favorites in a special commemorative section that concludes the News Tribune’s look at Tacoma’s most precious resource.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Point Defiance as a city park. Comparing our lives and habits to historical photos, it’s striking how little has changed. Practically everybody who lives in this region will spend time there, as have thousands before us. Some will marvel at the pleasures of the park’s 702 acres. Others simply want a nice spot to picnic. But people keep coming. There’s a rich vein of community spirit in the park that never stops flowing.

There’s no big news in these photographs. They lack the importance of Hurricane Katrina or our overseas reporting in Iraq, China and Sri Lanka. But I do think they serve as a reminder to value the familiar, to appreciate what makes our region a home.

Consider this photo section to be a time capsule, photographs from our shared backyard.