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The Cycle of Life

His visit became a tribute to his mother.

After Doug Barker’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he decided to play hooky and take a walk through Rock Creek Park.

In many ways, the hike became a tribute to the woman who had taught him to love nature.

Almost immediately, Barker found himself face to face with a red fox; he heard a young couple giggling; and he spotted a hawk sweep skyward with a chipmunk in its claws. When he told his mother what he had seen, he could tell that his story triggered memories deep within, and he drew comfort from her happiness.

It’s in the natural world’s cycle, Barker says — the birth, the growth, the blooming and even the death — that we see ourselves.

Find the article here in the Washington Post Magazine's issue dedicated exclusively to Rock Creek Park.

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