I could tell you stories.
Every walk in nature writes a novella.
If you look carefully you can find the characters, the plot, the resolution.
Would you like to read four short stories? (I promise they shall be short.) At least I will try.
1. The Mouth of the Huron Biting Fly Saga
We live near a paradise of secluded sandy beach known as the Mouth of the Huron. Way, way from civilization it meanders along the Lake Superior shore, taking its sweet time, hosting eagles and driftwood and overlooking the Huron Islands five miles away.
To walk along this delightful half-forgotten stretch ignites such feeling of peace and contentment. Except when the flies bite. If the flies are biting, one must not stop walking. If one ceases forward momentum, dozens of flies attach and latch on. Bug spray helps, but cannot entirely succeed.
One finds owl feathers, sacred rocks, twisted sticks.
If the price of paradise is biting flies, would you walk? Or would you run to the car?
2. Freezing Silver River
One of us wanted to wade in the Silver River. We took off sneakers, donned water shoes, and immersed.
One of us gasped uncontrollably.
Ice cold freezing water! One might swear icebergs floated here not long ago.
Feet threatened to turn blue.
Hiker dashed to shore.
Two bald eagles meandered overhead, oblivious to the blue toes.
Another of us soaked our sneaker in mud.
We returned home, filled with nature’s beauty. We thanked the Universe for its magnificence.
#3 Slate River hike
OK, so if it’s impossible to walk in the rivers because of cold, let’s hike beside them.
Let’s call a friend.
Let’s arrange to meet at 4:15 p.m.
Let’s sit by the Slate River and wait and wait and wait for friend to arrive. Fifteen minutes pass. You wonder where she is. When, suddenly–there’s the friend, walking toward you.
She’s been there all along! We just didn’t see her car, parked ahead behind lush green trees.
Let’s climb high up on the ridge overlooking the rushing river. Those of us out of shape may pant and sweat. The rest of us exclaim over the beauty. (Or perhaps we do both.)
“We should do this more often,” we say.
Why do we let everyday concerns become more important than the prescription of immersing oneself in nature?
#4 Return to the Slate River and Daring Escapades around Waterfalls
Let’s return to the Slate River, because one of us dangled toes in the water and determined this river really didn’t feel so cold. Let’s don river shoes. Let’s hike up past the “Slides” and then wade back.
We find river sticks to help us maneuver over slippery rocks.
You walk very, very carefully on the rocks. Every muscle will burn tomorrow, but you beg not to fall today. You won’t imagine broken bones.
You oooh and ahhhh. You see a family of merganser ducks who bob over a waterfall, attempting to get away from the river-humans-with-sticks. They survive!
The elder of you ponders her years and wonders how many more seasons she’ll be able to scamper up and down around falls and deep holes. (OK, maybe “scampering” doesn’t quite describe it.)
Oh what’s ahead? A waterfall, around which the hikers must forge. You can’t go up: it’s a steep cliff. You can turn around or you can inch down on your butt along a stiff rocky incline, begging the Spirit of the Falls not to take you. You take a deep breath. You perform acrobatic feats destined for a far younger body. You cheer on your hiking partner and tell jokes, which can’t be repeated here, because hiking partner would not approve.
You make it down the side of the waterfall. You survive! You tell your partner you are climbing up the steep hill and walking the rest of the way back to the car. Your fingers claw roots to reach the top. You succeed!
Gosh, can it get any better than this?
Your soul glows.
Oh, gosh, I typed 738 words trying to keep these stories short. Please sit back and enjoy the photos and perhaps share your last favorite foray in nature. How did it challenge and gift you?
P.S. All photos taken by the hikers with smart phones and Sony CyberShot. I didn’t want to risk dropping the Canon Rebel in the river!