"Take a walk with Mother Nature.
It will nurture your mind, body and soul."
Anthony Douglas Williams
|Merry ME Adventure Girl|
While I haven't been writing as I thought I would, I have kept up (mostly) with my daily walks. I've gone out bundled up against the Florida cold (nothing like Bostonian cold, but still chilly) with a hoodie and gloves. In the last few days, it's been warm enough to shed even a lightweight jacket. Walking around the neighborhood has gotten boring, so I tried something different today.
Sweetie and I went to the Jacksonville Arboretum. I'll be honest, until recently I didn't even know Jacksonville had an arboretum. I read last night about a few nearby places with nice trail walks. Woodsy places where you can walk with a child or dog and imagine you are no longer in the city. The Arboretum was #1 on the list so I decided to go with it. My intention was to get up early (who am I kidding?) and hit the trail. When Sweetie called around 3, I was still in my pajamas. (Not working turns me into a veritable slug.)
|The only tree I recognized|
|This turtle was on a mission, did not want to stop for a photo op.|
|Lake Ray was more of what I'd call a pond.|
Here's what I didn't know. That DNA I talked about, it's kind of watered down. When you get inside a stand of trees, even when they have little markers telling you what kind of trees they are, everything begins to look alike. I cursed myself for forgetting to bring a large trash bag and a whistle. That's all I remember from when my kids were little and we taught them if they were ever lost in the woods to "hug a tree."
|The Florida version of Stonehenge. Perhaps put in place by alien beings or Timucuan Indians*|
|Ancient Timucuan fertility symbols left at the edge of Lake Ray where virgins were tossed to appease the Gods.|
This path wandered up, down, around and through trees and vegetation. If I looked between tree branches I could see a ravine (what's the difference in a ravine and a creek?). In a few places, I could hear water trickling over a rock or limb. Strangely, I heard no birds. I saw a dragonfly and one yellow butterfly flitted overhead. Other than that it was me and Mother Nature.
I tried to clear my mind to get the full benefit of the outdoor experience. I tried to let go of a rising fear that I was going to get so lost nobody would find me. I weighed the consequences of going forward or turning around and trying to retrace my steps. I wondered if I tried to call 911 for help if there would be cell phone reception. I said a silent prayer of thanks for the good sense to carry a bottle of water. All the while I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving. At last, like Ponce de Leon landing on the wooded shores of St. Augustine, I spied a clearing. Not exactly the parking lot I had hoped to see, but close enough that I knew I'd survived my sojourn in the woods.
Sweetie was nowhere to be seen when I got back to the starting point. Oh dear, I thought to myself. As much as I love the man, I decided it would be prudent to stay put and wait for him. No point in both of us being lost, right? A few minutes later the women I'd seen at the beginning of the hour came strolling down the path. Beads of sweat dampened her forehead. She'd obviously gone farther and faster than I had. She pointed out that Sweetie was right around the corner.
As we walked to the car, Sweetie commented that the sound of traffic and sirens didn't add much to the ambiance of the nature setting. Of course, he is right. But I kind of liked hearing that civilization wasn't as far away as I feared it might be.
The next trip will be somewhere near Ft. Caroline. I'll be more prepared.
*The Timucuan (according to the local news lady this is pronounced ti-MOO-quan, rather than tim-a-quan) were an American Indian people who lived in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The Timucuan may have been the first American natives to see the landing of Ponce de Leon near St. Augustine in 1513. (Wikipedia)