A much needed hike

I am fortunate to have every other Saturday off, for the most part, at my full time job. This past Saturday was one such day and it was a glorious autumnal day at that. Since the other half works a traditional Monday to Friday 9-5 job, he and I plan things to do on my Saturdays off. We call them our adventures, since we usually try to do something fun. This past Saturday, we chose to go outside on a hike of the county conservation board’s lands on the outskirts of Des Moines in our little swath of the Midwest.

After the other half and I took a short hike together, he got on his amateur radio (for which he has a license) and tried to make contacts and do a vlog while I took to doing a longer hike myself.

It was much needed for my soul. Even though I was still a bit winded from the recent viral infection I was getting over, I enjoyed the autumn sun on my face and the cool breezes that ensued when the wind blew. And I got some much needed time to think, observe and enjoy the wonderful woods that I am lucky to have access to. And of course, while I only spent about six minutes total snapping photos and videos during the excursion, I was able to stitch them into a reel:

I also was able to grab a couple of geocaches, an activity I hadn’t done in a good while. I enjoy the hunt of treasure hidden in plain sight, so I snagged a couple that the other half and I had not gotten before. Of course, since I was also trying to get and keep my heart rate up, I only went for two during the hike since I wasn’t exactly equipped shoe wise for going off trail and deep woods.

We all need time to recharge and renew, in whatever shape or form that is. For me, being outside in all kinds of weather helps me out, for nature is as much a part of my own story as it is the stories I write. The weather, always changing, is a source of beauty and wonderment for me. I can find magic in just about any season.

I have even embodied the outdoors in a character of my own creation, one that is sometimes larger than life. The Bearer of Nature, Lady Eathelin, is as changeable yet as predictable as nature is in the real world. When I first introduce her as a character in my Portals Series, I had written this about her:

“While she is very fickle, she’s also unyieldingly stubborn when she wants to be.”

~ Lord Qwyddion to Rhadamanthys the Druid in the novella “The Last Druid

And Rhadamanthys (or Manth, as he is also known), discovers out later:

“You see, I finally met the Mistress of Nature.  Qwydd was not kidding when he told me she was fickle.  But she was more than just changeable.  She changed everything I thought I knew about her.”

And like Eathelin and the rest of the natural elements in my lands, the woods I hiked this past weekend are changeable. I have been on hikes there in all four seasons and am amazed by the brilliant colors of autumn, the quietness of winter, the new life of spring and the vibrance of summer. often, trees have been cut, but there are new ones growing to take their place. While there is the sounds of the city blaring through, since this conservation is near a well-used highway, there is also the sounds of nature. Birds chirp and trill from unseen branches. Snakes slither along almost silently in the underbrush. Squirrels chitter from treetops. Frogs sing their songs from the waterways at certain times of the year. Crickets and cicadas and other insects hum collectively at others.

There are things to wonder and marvel about every time I go on a hike. There is the vernality of fresh colors in early spring as new life pops through the muddy earth. The world smells fresh as the days begin to grow longer. The temps bring promises of warmth. Then there is the vitality of summer, with everything at its peak, including the mosquitos that can and will eat things alive. everything seems larger than life in the summer in the woods as storms bring plenty of moisture and humidity for days. In autumn, the leaves are the showcase, changing their colors to the vibrant colors of the fall before plunging to the ground in a ballet of death. In winter, there is a chill in the air and quietness. All that can be heard, besides the aforementioned city noises, is the cracks of trees and the calls of those animals hardy enough to withstand the cold. After a snowfall, there is the crunch of steps made in the stuff and the sound of it falling from limbs and boughs. Even then, the woods are magnificent, albeit quiet.

Find your way to recharge outdoors, my dear readers. Whether it is hiking through the woods in any kind of weather or just sitting on your back deck or patio watching the clouds roll by. We all need that time in nature to reconnect a part of our souls. We all need its magic to continue to write our stories of life. And some of us are lucky enough to find the words to connect it to our stories of fantasy as well.

Stay magical.

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If you wanted to see some of the fantasy works I have written, check out my Portals Series.

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And as always, #writeyourownstory

3 thoughts on “A much needed hike

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