Weekly Smile, March 24th

We all need to find bright spots in these troubled times. I haven’t written in a while, but I knew a “Weekly Smile” post was the perfect venue to break my hiatus. Even as we are called to stay home as much as possible, the pull to get outside and just be in nature each day is overwhelming. So while still practicing social distancing, my husband and I try to take walks each day.

Most of the time we walk alone. This past weekend, we visited a property my sister owns. It’s a beautiful site set on twelve acres, next to a nature preserve. I’m sure you need a break as much as I do. Come, take a walk with me.

As we drive to the end of the narrow country road, you’ll see a bank that rises steeply to your right. It’s covered with trees that tower high above. There’s a small sign, orange flags flapping in the wind, that welcomes you to the preserve. We’ll drive over a wooden bridge and you’ll see a babbling brook dancing just beneath. After we park the car next to the four-story barn, we can wander down to the firepit as its flames reach for the sky. Behind us is a reclaimed field where the horses used to run. Can’t you almost hear them? After we’ve warmed up a bit, we’ll walk down to the pond. If you look very closely, you can see tiny fish swimming along its edge. We can talk about the ducks that were here a few days ago and wonder where they’ve gone.

Be careful where you step as we make our way back. The ground is mucky from recent rains. Don’t you love that smell though? Smells like Spring. We’ll stop for a minute to look at the house. It’s geothermal and built into the hill. Sunlight reflects off the greenhouse and if you look carefully, you’ll see that the roof is covered in grass. We’ll laugh as we picture it being mowed in a few weeks.

We’ll continue up behind the house. There are remnants of trails here. A carpet of dried leaves crunch as we travel up the first hill. Over to the left, someone left a ramp. Neighborhood kids set up an obstacle track to use with their four-wheelers. See? That old wooden box is part of it too. The track runs along an old stone wall that defines the property line. Are the muscles in your legs starting to burn a little? Mine, too. Don’t worry. The land flattens just ahead. We can do it!

We’ve only just begun, but the world seems far away here. It’s so very quiet, except for the birds singing. Follow me through this bramble. I’ll hold back the branches for you. We’ll pick our path through the trees as we move deeper into the woods. As we descend down another hill, you’ll see what seems to be a dry riverbed in the distance. Sandwiched between a rise and fall of land, it looks like something you’d see in a painting. When we finally reach it, we’ll discover a ribbon of water lazily following its course. We’ll wonder aloud what it looks like after a storm.

Crossing it without a problem, we’re off to climb again, up and up. There’s another stone wall, the one the neighbor says is frequented by a lone bobcat. He’s seen it on his trail cam. I hope we don’t see it today. Let’s hurry.

Quick, let’s slip between those two trees that look like an archway. Careful where you step. The brush is thicker here. My foot just got caught on a vine. We’ve made it to the other edge of the property and can just make out the roof of the barn in the distance. We’re making our way downhill now, landing at the edge of the old horse field. Do you see those footprints in the mud? Deer must have come through recently.

I’m chilly. Let’s stand by the fire again. My sister has coffee set up by the house. Grab a cup and we’ll sit awhile. I enjoyed our walk today. Did you? Lots of reasons to smile, even in times like these.



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