Join me and let’s take a walk: A walk in the woods, a step back in time when I was adventurous and inquisitive. Picture this while opening your mind to discovery and reflection. . .
It is a cool, crisp early winter’s morning. Temperatures are just beginning to drop into the 60s during the day and low 40s at night. Soft rays of sunlight find their way into my bedroom, peeping from behind the heavily draped windows. Outside, shards of frost dust the remaining hints of color left over from autumn.
My brain comes alive with a tickling sensation as rich aromas of steaming coffee and freshly baked cinnamon rolls reach my nostrils. Mama is already busying herself in the kitchen, and I cannot wait to join in on the morning rituals. I bounce out of bed running in my sock feet toward the kitchen hoping to not arrive too late for one of my favorite times of the day: watching and listening to the ‘percolator song’. I giggle with excitement as I enter the room to the tune of the dark liquid pulsating up and down within its small glass bubble. Watching intently, my eyes never shift away until the last bloop has hissed.
Today is a special day because there is no school—something about the radiator not working which would mean no heat in the long halls and classrooms. The only bad thing about a ‘free’ day from school is that it will have to be made up later on in the year. Oh, well, today is today and no school means NO homework.
“Hey, Kitten,” Mama called. “How would you like to take a walk with me?”
“Where are we going, Mama? You’re not thinking about walking into town, are you?” I frown. This thought immediately comes to mind for just the day before Daddy put Mama’s car in the shop for repairs. She really needs a new car but the old ‘54 Ford will just have to do for now.
“Silly girl! No way we are going to walk the long distance into town. We are going to take a nature walk—a walk through the woods. I already know you have your special places you like to go so let’s take a walk together and talk about what you see and hear.”
Behind our house is nothing but woods. One selling feature when Daddy bought the house is the fact there aren’t any neighbors right next door and the backyard extends into a wooded area. There is plenty of yard in which to play and the woods often offers a place of solitude. Of course, I am not allowed to venture very far, just along the narrow trail to the little creek a short walk away. Sometimes I venture off the trail but it is not very long before I am right back where I started. The slightest unfamiliar sound sends me skedaddling like a cat chasing a squirrel!
“Grab your coat. It’s chilly out this morning. We don’t want you to catch a cold. Your mittens and scarf are over by the door. I’ll get mine and meet you outside.” Mama turns and walks toward her bedroom. I gather my coat, which still clumsily drapes across the kitchen chair where I left it the day before, put on my mittens and scarf, and walk out the door into the biting air.
The walk is surprisingly invigorating right from the very start. Deep breaths of cold air awaken my senses as I skip along the narrow wooded path. Tiny little clouds of fog are expelled with each breath. I spin around watching sunbeams glance off the dew-laden foliage as daybreak brings forth new sights, sounds and raw smells of the earth. The stillness of the night before is no more. The songs of the birds break through the silence and the crackle of dried leaves underfoot send tiny critters scurrying back into their woodsy safe haven.
We laugh, we talk, I ask questions, Mama provides answers. We pick a few wild blackberries being extra careful not to reach too far into the brambles. We forgot to bring a paper sack or bucket so we stuff our coat pockets until they can positively hold no more. As we walk on, I tell Mama about my secret place near the creek: The place I like to go just to be by myself (away from people, that is, for I never was ever really alone). I daydream of treasures and mystery even planning out my whole future, Prince Charming and all! Mama smiles the whole time knowing she has memories of similar experiences when she was a child. We pause to rest on a fallen tree trunk scaring a small rabbit nearby. Of course, it is debatable who really scared who!
A sense of sadness engulfs the scene when Mama says it’s time to walk back home. A walk among nature on that woodsy morning highlighted moments of fantasy within reality: dancing with the fairies and holding hands with Mother Nature.
What about you? Have you taken a walk lately? Better yet, have you taken your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, niece, nephew, friend for a walk? Put away the iPad, TV and cell phone or whatever might be occupying your time at the moment. Tune the Internet out and the outside world on. Whether spring, summer, fall or winter, capture the moments: Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest!
’Tis hard to encapsulate a full day
From morning dew to midnight sky
For a nimiety of snapshots exist
Each caught in a blink of an eye
Above still dark trees and somber sky
Diffused light of early morn emerges
Beetles nibble on the dark-green foliage
As sensations of nature’s splendor surges
Morning glories stretch and yawn
Unfurling shades of fuchsia that glow
Bees fly toward the inner beacon
Extracting nectarines deep below
Atala butterflies hover in the wind
Blue-green incandescence on their wings
Red-orange abdomens expand in the sun
Exploiting new life that morning brings
An angel of light appears in the midst
Casting sunbeams that overcome the shadows
Ladybirds feed on the whitefly and aphids
Revealing beneath their wings moments captured
Sharla Lee Shults
Sharla Shults is a semi-retired educator whose classroom is now the online environment. Her expertise spans a broad spectrum from reading to ESOL training to mathematics. Truly unique are the instances when her former classroom students once again cross paths with her for they have become teachers themselves working toward additional certification endorsements.
Sharla’s passion for writing is poetry: Historical and inspirational. Become acquainted with her writing by visiting http://sharlashults.com/ where links are accessible to her books and blogs.