"the little ones leaped, and shouted and laughed, and all the hills echoed." william blake
as a child i spent a great deal of time outdoors. we always lived in houses that had something to offer once you walked out the door-be it trees to climb, a pool to swim in, or a pond to cast my cane pole. i have childhood memories of riding my bike around our neighborhood trolling for playmates, jumping my go-cart across a ditch and heading out on all day adventures on my 3-wheeler with my best friend amanda. all of my cherished childhood memories happened in nature or at least outside.
|fall creek falls|
in college i would venture off campus with my bike for out of the way places sometimes by myself. my favorite was the katy trail. goodness i loved that trail probably because it was beautiful and FLAT. and ran along water. i still remember those happy times either alone or with my friend chris who loved the trail as much as me. but mostly i would steal away to be by myself to think and wander.
one of the things i loved about my husband was his experience on trails, any trail. when we began dating he had had many a wild outdoor adventure including hypothermia that had him sharing a sleeping bag in his skivvies with his best friend jay.
|our first hike to the chimneys |
when i moved to east tennessee we often drove the short road to the mountains for a day hike. the chimneys was a favorite climb. that was back when people used maps, and he kept a tattered collection.
i cannot imagine life without a trail really. i feel a little like marjorie rawlings when she wrote, "i do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to."
|montgomery bell state park|
it was sad for us to move from the mountains of east tennessee to the flat middle tennessee, but when we did we found our beloved radnor lake, my favorite place in nashville.
|catoctin furnace trail|
|cunningham falls state park|
as the boys got older, we took them on longer, more out of the way trails: cedars of lebanon, the chimneys, fall creek falls, clingman's dome to name a few.
|the last leg of the maryland section of the A.T.|
right now we live with the view of the appalachian trail from our back window. as they practice their math, work on spelling and eat, they do so with the landscape of this most famous trail within their casual glimpse. i often feel this is god's providence.
|green ridge state forest|
like me, our boys come alive outside. i can see it in their gait. i can hear it in their war cries. they love the large space. no doors to hold them out. no walls to bump up against. it's lovely and full. the other day whilst driving in the country the oldest commented, "wouldn't it be great if we lived out like this?" my heart agreed.
|fall creek falls|
|south mountain state park|
these boys who favor their father more than their mother still have specks of me sprinkled through. their love for trees. their interest in trails. their delight in travel. their curiosity in the path and where it leads. i can only hope that it remains as they grow into men who make up their minds and pitch their tents in lands known or unknown.
|sugar loaf mountain|
yesterday we were at the doctor's office. the nurse asked my son what sports he enjoys. "let's see", he began. "i like biking and swimming and hunting-and hiking." and my heart was happy.
very, very happy.