Looking Down

I hiked at Lake Hope yesterday morning before running some errands. It was about 61 degrees and sunny, perfect for a quick hike.

My eye is normally drawn up toward the birds and little creatures in the trees and the sky above. Yesterday was different as my attention was focused almost entirely on the ground.

I was especially taken with all sorts of mushrooms. I know nothing about them but appreciate the various shapes and colors and the character they contribute to the forest floor.

More than that, I was taken with the feel of dirt and pine needles beneath my feet. I noticed more how solid the earth felt and appreciated the contours of tree roots and stones in a way I never have before.

This one resembles a seashell.

Check out the black with the crazy texture!

And the moss!!

Life has been busier than normal for the last couple of months and this week has been ridiculous. I have had zero free time since coming home from vacation. Standing in the forest, taking deep breaths, and feeling the wind on my cheek made me feel alive. It made me want to stand there a while longer.

I only hiked a few miles but it felt like such a treat to find myself in a place where the only manmade noise was a small plane overhead and where my phone did not work.

At one point, I came down from a small ridge into a little cove where golden leaves were falling from the trees. They swirled in a light breeze before gently wafting to the ground. It was a near magical moment in the dappled morning light and the silence of the forest.

Everyone should have such an experience.

Do yourself a favor and go walk outdoors. Get off the sidewalk and walk through dirt and leaves and feel the connection to the earth that humans were meant to have. Look for the small things – tiny flowers, mushrooms and insects. Close your eyes and feel the sun on your face. Breathe deeply and enjoy your life.

Tomorrow we will continue our tour of Washington D.C.

Nature Doesn’t Care

The human world is in chaos as Covid 19 continues reaching into areas of life that most of us never dreamed would be so heavily impacted. You never know what new challenge lurks around the next corner. At least that’s how it feels.

Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to nature. The natural world isn’t familiar with Covid and doesn’t care that this virus is inconveniencing you and me.

In fact, Nature continues to operate as she always has. The sun continues to rise and set at the appointed times every day. The beautiful water lilies at my local state park are still blooming.

Clouds drift by on a hot summer day because that’s what clouds do. Their reflection in the lake reminds me of glass.

And dragonflies still flit across the water, enticing hikers to stop and stare.

Mushrooms continue to grow in unusual shapes and colors despite the presence of a nasty little virus in our world.

Trees still provide shade and shelter for birds and other small creatures.

Some even are starting to remind us that there is rhythm and reason to the seasons. Nature will soon work her magic and transform our landscape into a wonderland of red, gold, brown and orange leaves. They will rain down upon us, giving new life to the forest floor.

If we listen, we will learn that the natural world is exactly as it should be despite the challenges that come with priorities humans have imposed on themselves.

Go for a walk if you can. Better yet, submerge yourself in the forest and breathe deeply. Allow Nature to show you what’s good about the world and maybe the rest of what you are living with right now won’t seem so bad.