In need of a break from studying for my upcoming first exam, I decided on Friday to venture into the nature preserve/forest that lies adjacent to campus. Granted, I have been dodging invites to group hikes for weeks. If I’d been asked, I would have firmly stated that I don’t really enjoy the outdoors. However on this particular day, the view from my window was so inviting that I put on my Pumas and my fleece jacket and headed off…into the woods.
As I walked along the various paths through all the shades of green, and red, and orange, and yellow, and brown I started to remember that I used to actually like being out in the woods. Hours upon hours of my childhood were spent camping and wandering various Midwestern woodlands as a Girl Scout. Even before that I was fascinated by pussywillows and cattails and rocks. Many decades later, I remember my own children being just as excited for an afternoon at the Arboretum.
I climbed a particularly rocky trail, and when I reached the top and looked back at how far I’d climbed, I was tempted for a tiny second to do a Julie Andrews twirl and sing “The Hills Are Alive…” No, I didn’t. Instead, I wondered exactly when I forgot about walking in the woods. How often do we grow up and forget the things that gave us joy, wonder, and excitement when we were small? Probably more often than we realize. As I made my way back down through the woods to the path leading home, I was really grateful for the lush fall scenery… and the day’s reminder.