On Sunday I was grateful to be near the Saratoga National Historical Park. Every time I am in the area I park my car and head out in a different direction.
Sometimes I go to the right, down the long curving hill and take another right down the trees road to circular parking area to enjoy the view of the Hudson River and farmland. Other times, I walk down the hill and go to the left on the opposite side of the red house.
On other walks, I go to the left past the Neilson House (photo above), down the long treed roadway past the open field and cut across the dirt path through the woods to the road on the other side. When time permits, I cross the road and continue onto the Wilkinson Trail through the woods across an open field down a steep hill that leads to a brook, then back up the hill through the woods to the road. If I cross the road at this point I will walk across a short field to a small bridge to another treed path that runs along a cliff overlooking the brook. After a long walk in the woods, I cross another road and find myself at the same road in which I began.
In the fall, the trees are decorated in reds, orange, and gold. The sound of the fallen leaves crunch underfoot, geese honk, honking in the sky above, as light filters through the trees. The smell of earth and decaying leaves fills the crisp air and I lose myself in the beauty. It is on these long walks that I sometimes find myself in a meditative state walking through the woods without realizing how far I have traveled. Time seems to stand still.
Along the walk deer step out onto the road or cross in front of me along a path in the woods. They stop to check me out and then go about their business. I walk slowly through the woods as to not startle them or other critters that live in this protected area.
I never get tired of seeing deer. When my mother, Aunt Helen, and Uncle Don were alive they would ride through the Park or the outskirts of the park to count the number of deer they spotted. Sometimes they would count upwards of 50, especially in the fall when the deer were smart enough to know as long as they stayed on this property the hunters could not shoot them.
Sometimes the deer and I have seem to have contests to see who can stand still the longest. As in the photo above, we stood for quite a while before the two deer decided to move on. Many times I win because the wind will turn course and once they smell me off they go. On the days that I continue on this road past the deer, I pass an open field on the right and then back through a treed area before returning to the Neilson House. Sometimes I walk fast releasing my thoughts as I travel. Other times, I meander along enjoying the flowers, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, coy dogs, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks and a variety of birds.
There are always gifts of beauty along the way whether in the woods, fields or along the roadway if you can slow down to witness. Maybe pick an apple to eat along the way.
I see others walking quickly, ear buds in their ears, music blaring from their iPhones and wonder if they ever slow down long enough to really enjoy the nature around them. Do they ever stop to chat with the deer or watch the chipmunks and bluejays play? On my walk I stopped to watch a bluejay and chipmunk chasing each other around like little children. Instead of music, I listened to the leaves rustling in the wind, crunching under the weight of the deer, a plane overhead, cows mooing on a farm in the distance, geese honking overhead, and to my own heart beat and breath. I gave thanks for the beauty of nature that surrounded me and wished I could share this with others.
By the time I walked out of the park the sun was beginning its decent. If you look closely in the distance in the photo below you can see the outline of the Neilson House surrounded by trees.
This is one of my favorite spots. Sometimes I stay in the park until sunset to hear the howl of the coyotes and watch the last slit of red in the sky. But on this night, I had to hurry home to prepare for the red moon and eclipse that would not be seen again until 2033.
On the way to my car a couple was walking into the Park. We chatted for a bit, they were heading to the Neilson House to watch the lunar eclipse and dance in the moonlight to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. They have danced under every full moon for the last four years. It seemed so romantic. I was invited to stay – it was very tempting – but the eclipse would take a while and I live half an hour from the Park so I thanked them and went my way. While driving home, I almost turned around several times but was grateful I decided to return home to watch the rare event.
My question to you is – when you walk, do you walk fast and listen to music or do you slow down and listen to nature? Do you stop and smell the flowers, watch the bees, notice the beauty around you? Life is a wonderful experience if you can slow down long enough to enjoy it. Can you give yourself the gift of time in nature? Will you give yourself this gift? It doesn’t take a lot of time to get in tune with nature and yourself. Aren’t you worth it? Please share your experience with nature and walking, I would love to hear from you.
Love and Life!