On the day before the first day of fall, I, the Fab Hub, and our Kidzilla headed to our favorite (OK really our only) hiking spot at a wildlife sanctuary not too far from us.
Now that the weather is actually feeling a bit like fall, we’ll spend a lot more time here watching the seasons change. On this particular morning, we headed off on a new-to-us trail with rather spur-of-the-moment and over-zealous designs on reaching a particular destination far along on the trail. It didn’t happen. It was, simply, not the day for an extended hike. However, the temperatures were fairly cool and the woods were green…maybe some of the last green we’ll see as the cooler weather has her way with the foliage. And so we headed off in that direction anyway.
After several minutes on the trail, we ventured down this stone stairway…and then of course had to come back up again on the return trip. You can just see the first few yellowing leaves among the green…a tiny hint of what stunning beauty is yet to come.
I sent my Sister one of these shots and she asked if we were “Thoreau-ing” for the day. It’s a great term, isn’t it? Thoreau-ing. I like it. I thought about it for a while as we walked and climbed over rocks, and that’s exactly what we were doing. Like Thoreau, on some level all three of us needed to retreat from the busy-ness and demands of the real world for a few hours and clear our heads a bit.
The trail was a more challenging one than we usually take. For me, at least, it provided just enough frustration to allow for a much-needed release of tensions. It was a positive frustration, though. I needed to work a few things out of my system and this did the trick. I am certain the Fab Hub and Zilla felt similarly, even if it wasn’t verbalized.
The most noticeable part of this day’s hike (aside from that beast of a stairway) was the quiet. This particular trail is one less traveled than some of the others so the people noise is not nearly the same. The place overall holds an air of decorum, of sanctity, if you will. People speak little and when they do, it is in quieter tones than they might use somewhere else. Even on the busiest and most populated days, there is a sense of calm. Perhaps that’s why we like it here.
As lovely as it is there in the woods, we sort of collectively decided that we had reached our turnaround point somewhere in the vicinity of this photo above. The trail was tempting, but somehow we all knew that it was time to head back to eat, rest, and spend some time at other spots in the sanctuary.
At one point during our visit, the Fab Hub grabbed this shot from one of the lookouts. In Walden, Thoreau said, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” How right he was.
No, the gentleman in the photo does not belong to us, but how peaceful does he look sitting there taking it all in? Oh, and those boulder fields in the distance? That’s where our trail eventually would have taken us, had we pressed onward. But that’s a trip for a much longer day with a much different load packed in the trail bag.
So while we didn’t run off to the far destination, it will be there for another time. As Thoreau suggests so many times throughout the pages of Walden, we do not need to be in a hurry to reach any particular benchmark of development…each of us finds our own season in our own time.
And so for this day, we left the boulder fields and the highest lookouts for another day. We were tired and satisfied with what we had already gained. Like Thoreau, we left the woods for as good a reason as we went there…we had more life to live.
This post was previously published on The Meaning of Me and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: iStock