A Walk in Nature

When I travel, I walk a lot. My body responds well to the daily exercise, so much so that when I return home, I intend to get out and walk every day. However, back at home, my usual work and life routine asserts itself and that good intention quickly fades away.

Today I shifted my routine, bookending my day with morning and evening walks. Come along with me, for walks in nature.

Wildcat Park was the destination for my first walk. This area south of Joplin features walking trails through woods and along Shoal Creek. It’s my favorite walking trail and not only provides exercise for my body but grounds and centers me as well. Plus, walking near water quiets my mind and elevates my soul.

Several springs feed Shoal Creek.

This turtle, soaking up the sun, has the right idea.

These Canadian Geese were standing in the shallow water, resting with their heads tucked back beneath their wings. Later, walking back by, I noticed the geese were floating in a V formation. They seemed to be practicing for their migration flight. I’ve never seen geese doing either of these things before.

My favorite photograph from today. I watched this leaf fall from its tree, twirling down gently to rest on the surface of the river. I love the light-reflecting ripples, propelling the leaf boat along.

A downed tree trunk provides living space for fungi clinging to the bark, thriving just above the water.

I love the variety of grasses that grow near the river, their tassels signaling the arrival of fall.

Into the woods, my favorite part of the walk.

Whenever I walk at Wildcat Park, I stop to lay my hands on Oak Tree, giving and receiving energy. He is an old tree, full of wisdom.

When I reached out to touch Oak Tree, I spotted a painted rock tucked into a fork of the tree. I found two more painted rocks immediately after, along the path. I rehid all three.

Can you see the animal that surprised me on the trail? I had just put my iPhone in my pocket when Greg reacted with surprise, calling my attention to the path ahead. By the time I got my phone back out to take a pic, the snake had slithered off the path. I have not seen this species before, with its greenish gray back and yellow belly. It was about three feet long, and non poisonous. I couldn’t identify it but it appeared to be a water snake.

This tree’s whimsical face made me smile!

The hour or so that I spent walking at Wildcat Park was nurturing and restorative. Mary Davis wrote:

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

What a true statement. I left feeling very connected with myself and connected with nature as well.

This evening, after completing a house showing near Mercy Park, the desire to walk again was strong. I’ve never walked at Mercy at night. It was beautiful, and lit up so that the pathways were easy to walk along. Couples and families and joggers were out in abundance, enjoying the cool, clear evening.

So, one day of walking does not a new routine make. However, I am grateful for the walks today, and with the weekend here, I’ll surely create time to walk each day.

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” Khalil Gibran

I will remember. I am ready to delight and be delighted, and to feel the wind playing with my hair.

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