“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,…”
(Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, George Gordon Byron)
In each of us, I believe there is a creature who whispers: “Let’s take a walk.” Whether we choose to let her lie dormant or rise on wings of fresh air is a question of unique proportions. Some allow her to flourish: hike trails of littered red rock in ninety degree heat, wake with the sun and jog an empty pier with ocean breeze in her hair, wade through knee high blue water between oaks and aspens. Some foster her. Some cradle her.
I am among the lucky ones to live in a rural part of this country – miles of bean fields, pecan trees, tractor dealerships, and backyard clotheslines. The Midwest is a kaleidoscope of beautiful landscape – all four seasons of the year. Home to good people. A bounty of picturesque ground.
There is joy buried in the ankle deep, river-bottom gumbo and acres of silky-topped corn; a certain essence that coaxes you to let go, if only for a few minutes, and breathe in deeply.
My adventure partner has four legs and bright, amber eyes. He is brave in the face of snakes and silly about rope toys. There is little in life that he loves more than hanging half out the car window or peanut butter crackers for breakfast. And his enthusiasm for the wetlands & Chariton River surrounding our home is purely contagious.
I dare you to look at these and not smile. This joy…this joy is a real as it gets.