Oma Peanut came with us today, to a local conservation area. I had never been before myself, and I went with vague expectations of a nice forest and some kind of trail system.
Nice forest indeed! These particular trees belong to what is called a Carolinian Forest - meaning it has to do with certain kinds of trees in this particular climate - which can be found stretching down through the States, but in Canada only here, in Southern Ontario. I could throw more scientific blah blah blah at you, but the most important fact you must absorb is: it is absolutely beautiful. And by that I mean bee-you-tee-full. Breathtaking, splendid, awe-inspiring. And yet peaceful, perfectly perfect, and completely welcoming.
Sounds silly, perhaps, but have you noticed that some beauty is rather icy and distant? What we saw today wasn't brittle at all - it was inviting and natural. I certainly felt at home there, as if I were an elf, toddling along the paths of Rivendell. (The other elves drift or float elegantly; even as an elf, I would toddle)
I can't really convey in words what the experience was like. I've always enjoyed tramping through the woods, and have always loved trees. One of the joys of living here, is that the trees are so full and so tall and so varied. This Carolinian Forest is in another league altogether: tulip, chestnut, oak, maple, hickory, walnut and more. They are well over 100 years old, broad, tall and strong. At this time of year, they are beginning to turn colour, each kind of tree taking its turn to display its own particular fall beauty. Little bushes are brimming with bright red or gleaming white berries, and the sun shines through the canopy, tinged with gold as it highlights this or that little glade or meadow.
The trail going through the conservation area isn't terribly long, but it is definitely an off-road experience with some serious hill climbing to do. Particularly if you are the age of 19 months and barely 3 feet tall. Both Four and Five were with us, and both walked almost the entire distance, hills and all. Fortunately Oma wanted to photograph every tree along the path so we moved fairly slowly, but still, up hill is up hill, and the long way round is the long way round, right? It was delightful to see Five in his splash pants and little black shoes, looking as if his legs were two inches long, trotting along behind his big brother, investigating sticks and mushrooms, or grunting his way up the slope.
It was a truly delightful experience. I am so very grateful to have this place in my backyard. Our God is an awesome God. Got to love the Lord for making things like that!