On days when I don’t have time to find a long wood to hike, I just step out of my door and see what I can find. I almost always come across one or many things worth the telling of a story.
When I moved into this neighborhood the woman living next door took me on a walking loop from our houses, to the lake, through Grant park and home again. It’s a good 2.5 mile walk up and down some large hills with some lovely views of Lake Michigan, a creek that is more or less a river on rainy days and some lovely wooded areas. Oh yes, and a golf course. I’m not a golfer but this is a lovely course with interesting buildings, structures and landscaping.
One day we saw a family of hawk siblings all sitting on a branch with their mother perched near by. They gave us quite a show as they all flew away one at a time on the same path through the trees. A couple of weeks ago I saw the same type of hawk, grown up and all on his own, perched close enough to the walk that I could have reached out and touched his feathers.
I’ve seen a lot of foxes, deer and birds of all kinds. We even have a crane who lives in the pond and likes to perch itself in trees. It is a heavily wooded area but I am always surprised to see so much wildlife in this semi urban setting.
We all live in places with far more interest than we realize. Between nature and human creations nature, there is a never ending option for photographic images. On this particular day I found so many interesting images that I felt compelled to share them with you.
The plastic car at the bottom of the hill gave not only a good photo share, but a great laugh. I can only hope there wasn’t a child inside when it rolled down to the bottom!
One of my favorite places close to home where I can walk to and let my mind wander in thought is the Grant Park beach. It is a wildly rustic place where one can find an abundance of driftwood and is a fantastic place to hunt for rock specimens. I have seen a treasure trove of crystals and fossils and I’ve even come across an arrow head of two.
Poets and painters alike will find this beach shares inspiration willingly. And for someone who just wants to read quietly or stare off into the horizon, it is equally giving. The weather doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to the human spirit as on any given day there are cars in the parking lot and folks wandering the beach. I was there on a day in February when the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees fahrenheit and the snow knee to hip deep in many places but yet, there were at least four other people standing on the beach watching the water.
Spring has come to southeast Wisconsin and brought with her more green than I remember from years past. I think it is more because I am learning to be more observant, even more than just a year ago. My growth in observation has come out of the extra time I’ve spent in nature but also from learning how to garden and finding the joy in watching the cycle of life as it fills my yard with new and returning plants.
The subtlety of nature makes a grand entrance in this new season of growth. It can be hard to see until we walk up close and really look at the details.
Trees are budding fast and before we know it there will be leaves filling in the spaces where once the sky filled them in with hazy color and snow dusted the branches with lovely outlines in the morning sun.
On the remains of my walk this day, I found my neighbors life imprints of great interest. There is a house where heart warming thoughtful messages appear in their window to remind us to be kind. Another neighbor places a different ornament on a bench for each holiday or season, never the same.
I’ve found a lot of gardening ideas on my walks, not all that I would copy, but have learned much simply from admiring the choices of my neighbors and what is important to others. I have to remind myself often that I cannot possibly add every plant available in my yard and that it is a work in progress, and to let it be so.
On my walks I think a lot about life and the life growing in and changing around me. Some times I think too much and feel the need to pull my mind back to the present. I think it is ok to drift away a little as long as you are able to remind yourself to come back and focus on what is true.
If you find you are in need of just a little adventure, grab your phone, make sure its charged up and step outside your door to find what shows itself to you. You might be surprised at what you’ll find!
Make your own trails when you can.
Thanks for reading,