The soles of my shoes hit the crushed gravel trail early this morning. I had to get outside. The images and stories pouring out from news outlets, are more than I can tolerate. My mind swirls with sadness, disgust and questions. Questions I have no answers for. So, I set out on foot.
Right away, the sun warms my hoodie, while a cool breeze hits my face. Climbing over flagstone outcroppings, down to the pond. I hear “kerplunk”, into the water, as frogs make their escape. A school of minnows flutter from the shallows, under my gaze. Most of the native fauna has yet to bloom. Mounds of greenery billow around me. The trail takes me up and over a hill, to the boardwalk.
Squeals and scratches of two small red squirrels, capture my attention. They chase each other around and around the trunk of an old oak tree. They don’t notice me there, consumed with their own dramas. The soft trails have been washed out by recent heavy rains. Deep crevasses along the edges, remind me of the Grand Canyon, and the power of water. My shoes are now coated by the wet mud.
A looping side trail, offers solitude, so I follow. Coming around the corner, I am greeted by a swarm of honey bees. Their masses take up a large branch of a fallen tree. I stop far enough away to stay safe, but close enough to hear a great symphony of humming and buzzing. There is no fear, only entrancement by this marvelous wonder.
Along the boardwalk and out of the corner of my eye, a flash of tawny brown moves within the foliage. A lone doe grazes, undisturbed by my presence. I am all at once grateful for this day. For the stunning beauty and magic, surrounding me. This is where I am meant to be, where my soul comes to life.
Ahead of me, a brown thrasher pecks the dusty ground, looking for insects. Above me, the shrill cries of blue jays echo through the canopy. An eastern phoebe flies back and forth, between trunks, catching flies mid-air. The occasional jogger passes me, we exchange quick salutations and I move on down the trail.
I feel stronger now, more able to let go of things I cannot control. Focusing inward, bettering myself, so that I can be an instrument of love, a light in the dark. Fostering appreciation for the natural world and the goodness and oneness that is experienced within its midst.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”-Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl