My husband and I took a walk at Jackson Park on Christmas Day. The weather was mild and sunny. Perfect for a winter walk. There were lots of other folks out in the park as well. I love that. Seeing friends and families enjoying their neighborhood parks during the holidays.
For me, there is a mix of anticipation and melancholy around the holidays. But I'm always a bit more blue when all the hustle and bustle is over. It's a long slog to spring from here.
In recent years I've made it a goal to get outside on winter days, to find the beauty in it as I count the days to warmer spring weather. Today I took a hike through Stigler Nature Preserve. It was chilly, and a bit cloudy, but it was a pleasant hike. And, again, there were plenty of other folks there doing the same. Walking with their children, walking with friends, walking their dogs. And a few solo hikers like myself as well.
When I arrived at the footbridge over the creek, I stopped to admire several newly built rock cairns artfully placed on top of some of the bigger rocks in the creek. I took a few photos. Then I heard a voice behind me asking "Do you like them?"
I turned to see a smiling young man and responded "Yes!". We talked for a few minutes and he explained that he had just assembled them. That he sometimes visits the preserve to build new cairns, varying the size and shape. I took a few more photos, and continued on my way.
This is one of the things I love about nature, how it connects us in a myriad of ways. In this instance, nature inspired an artist to build some rock cairns in a creek. His art becoming a part of the scenery, and shared with all who pass by.
As I continued on my hike, I felt my sense of blah start to lift. In a season of such heightened expectations, we can only be disappointed. How could I expect the holiday season to deliver all the joy that seems lacking the rest of the year? It's up to each of us to seek out what brings our spirits joy. And, of course, that will be different for everyone.
For me, I realize, more and more, it means being in nature in some way, on a regular basis. I know it won't solve all my problems, vanquish all my worries; but it helps to free my mind to see the beauty in my little corner of the world. And to want to share it. With you.
A nature lover, bird watcher, wildlife fan, amateur photographer, humane gardener, traveler, and singer of songs. I've been keeping closer to home these days, and truly discovering the beauty that lies in TheParkNextDoor.