“This … just … feels … so AMAZING!” The words came from my oldest daughter’s lips on a recent afternoon adventure in the woods … it was a measly 14 degrees Celsius and raining, but we were FINALLY navigating the nature trails at our local regional park … ALONE … no baby and no little sister tagging along.
I had to agree with her … it was amazing! The combined freshness and crispness of the fragrant fall air filled our lungs with goodness. Steep climbs forced our bodies to work harder, but the mutual pounding of our hearts in our chests, and our gasps for a little extra air just strengthened our connection. Each corner, each path brought with it something new … a new type of plant, a little log building, a boardwalk, or a set of wooden steps.
The colours were captivating, of course, with the fall season upon us … ferns have transformed from bright green to orange. The poplars are yellowing. Jack pines remain the same, while the underbrush is a combination of reds, yellows, and oranges.
We were in awe with how much diversity there was in each part of the forest … and how the earth beneath our feet changed so frequently from one ecosystem to another. The highlight for my daughter, of course, was having to dodge puddles in one particular area … clearly smarter than me, she wore her rubber boots … but the rush of making quick decisions to determine which route would be the driest or how far a person could actually jump without acquiring a “booter” had our hearts pounding again, and laughter spilling from our lips.
More than once, the trails brought us to the river. The sound of water rushing over the rocks filled us up once again. We were silenced, as it was too loud to speak and too loud to hear … we just stood … in awe … once again. “I just feel so amazing,” she tells me again … her hair soaked, water trickling down her cheeks.
“This IS wonderful, isn’t it?” I respond … what a gift for the two of us to bond in THIS way … THIS is one of my absolute favourite places to be … in the forest, completely surrounded by God’s amazing creation, never really knowing how close we might be to a wild animal or what we might discover around the next curve or in the next clearing … I can’t help but be in complete awe with all that He has created. The whole experience is (crucially) humbling; it reminds me how small I (we) really am (are), and switches my focus outwards … in this case, to the incredible world around me and to my daughter … what a gift for her to begin to see … I mean REALLY see the earth and the world around her. What a gift for us to share our AWE.
It really was AMAZING, as she repeated many times on our adventure! And my seven year old daughter has seemingly ALREADY figured that out … what … a … gift!