Two days ago, I was taken back to when I was eight years old. Not in a literal sense; but mentally, I was there. At eight years old I occupied myself by explorations. The nearby woods on our property literally was my closest companion. Kittens trailing at my feet, I had my own little world there, just beyond the trees. I named certain sections of the friendly forrest and even drew a few maps. There were clearings and overgrown abandoned apple orchards. I gave myself either the name Pearl or Rose, complete with various imaginary friends who were always willing to go on adventures with me. My imagination was at large there for a whole year of my life.
Now, there are no forests on our property, only fields and barns which we are not allowed to venture into--although that doesn't always stop us from stepping inside for just a few minutes. I'm not often taken back in my memory to the woods where I used to play; where I would sit for hours cracking open acorns so the squirrels wouldn't have to do it themselves. In fact, I hadn't thought about it for months, and did not even have an inkling that it would vividly reoccur in my mind.
Whenever my family goes on a 'walk' it is always just around our yard. Generally, I'm not one to take joy in lapping the perimeters of an imaginary trail which I walk along far too often in the first place. But on friday morning, raindrops softly falling outside the windows, when my mother announces that we are going to take a walk on the nature trail near by, I was all in. I figured that I might get a few nice pictures out of the experience and, honestly, who wouldn't want to take a crazy walk in the rain?
Being there on the trail, I was secluded from the city. I could not hear it, I could not see it. I hadn't been to a place like this for what feels like forever. It was, hands down, the best part of my week. I was wet, I was cold, but I was smiling. Fallen leaves rested on the boarders of the paved trail, as an occasional flower dotted the path. I spotted a dark colored horse in a pasture along the way and my little sister's smiles and outbursts of laughter made the experience all the better.
This adventure was completely unexpected, and that is exactly what makes it beautiful. I can hardly wait to return. In nature, I find a connection to my childhood, a connection to everything that I might have otherwise forgotten. And that is something worth the cold fingers, worth the sore legs, worth the wet clothes. It's worth the time.