March 1, 2017

Balm for the weary soul

We love walking in the woods. Our cares melt away, the smell of nature is healing, and it is fun to enjoy our children in the "wild".

Recently, a trip to Lansing's Fenner Nature Center with two of our girls proved to be just what the doctor ordered.  We began walking along the paved trail and veered onto the first dirt path we saw. The ground was not crunchy as in the autumn, but gave way to our tennis-shoed feet, just enough for comfort.  There is a hut located along a marshy area that our older daughter claimed was a deer blind. Lots of small openings looking out at the water were perfect for viewing wildlife. I stepped outside and to the front and saw my family standing at different openings. Reaching in I touched our oldest daughter's leg and saw the reaction of her jumping with short little bursts of surprise. We laughed so hard - she thought it was a snake touching her.

Continuing along the trail we crossed paths with some deer grazing, occasionally lifting their heads to watch us, but showing no sign of fear. It's amazing how easily they absorb into their surroundings with the coloration of spring.

Climbing a short hill, one daughter pointed and said, "duck". In unison about three seconds after this, the three of us ducked. I suppose because everything was so peaceful and entertaining to us - we cracked up at the exactness of our movement.

Further into the wooded area, we came to a crossroads with paths leading in many directions. As it was getting a little late, I said we needed to begin heading back and asked which path should we take as I'm truly directionally challenged. All three of them, in unison again, pointed in opposite directions. Another laugh.

We chose to head toward the perimeter of the park and worked our way to the parking lot where we saw a deer cross in front of us, then another, another, another. A herd of 14 peaceful, beautiful deer, slowly crossed the lot and headed into the meadows. Some stopped to look at us, but none of them seemed alarmed at our quiet presence. 

It was a beautiful ending of a simple walk in the woods. We were renewed and encourage others to get out in nature. There are many places, even around large towns, to walk - nature centers are exceptional places to visit. Just get out and enjoy - laugh.

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