Out in the wider world, it has been a long, dramatic, and emotional winter. Taken together, COVID-19 and the events surrounding the election alone have been enough to make me want to crawl into a cave and hibernate until spring (or maybe until 2023, just to be safe).
I am feeling the effects of this strange time like most everyone else I know. Particularly when I hear or read the news, I frequently find myself alternating between sadness, fear, and frustration. I want to keep up with it, feel like I know what is going on in the world. Unfortunately, what I feel most often is overwhelmed.
Nature is my remedy then, as it is and always has been for so many things. There is a wonderful park, about a five-minute drive from my house, that I have been visiting since I first found it last spring. Meadowbrook Nature Preserve is a small, partially wooded set of trails snugged between luxury apartments and a golf course. It also backs up to pretty little Halfway Brook. The stream snakes around the edges of the woods, providing my dog Hannah with a place to swim or get a drink on our walks. All kinds of birds, reptiles and amphibians call the place home, and it’s always a treat to see them. The rest of the park is an open field, and in warmer months it’s filled with native wildflowers and plants that butterflies and other insects love to visit.
Here Hannah and I can do a short loop around the fields or through the woods, or take a longer trek around the whole park. All the trails are flat and well-marked so navigation is easy. Informational signs along the way describe local plants and wildlife, and a swimming dock on Halfway Brook provides a nice spot to head in for a dip.
The cold winter temps and heavy snows are getting harder on Hannah’s aging joints and legs. More and more, I appreciate the ease for her of walking the park, as much as the beauty, peace and quiet I find there. It’s become a small haven in this increasingly crazy, stressed-out world, and I’m incredibly grateful to have found it.
“I walk ahead of myself in perpetual expectancy of miracles.”Anais Nin