The Winter Forest

If you have read any of my blogs you know that we as a family hike a lot (Hiking with Kids). No matter what the season we usually pack a lunch to eat so that way we are no rush to leave. When you have hungry kids you have a tendency to rush everything. Our solution has always been to pack a lunch for the day. That way when we spend our day in nature its not a rushed event.

We took another winter hike the other day. It was a day before another snow storm so there wasn’t fresh snow but still snow everywhere. It’s calming in the winter because not a lot of people are out when it’s a certain temperature and as I like to say a lot, the forest is even taking her winter slumber. The few animals and birds you do see are nothing compared to when spring has arrived. Where we hike there is a man made waiting pool they had built to help gather run off from the mountain and give wildlife a small habitat. It was frozen with small ice crystals creating a swirling design. In the spring you will see hundred of frog eggs and newts swimming. The flowers and lilies will be coming back up to greet the sun. For now though they are hidden beneath snow and ice. The winter nights are long and the days are short but now since the winter solstice you can slowly see the daylight returning.

The forest where we hiked had a stillness to it. It’s a interesting feeling you get when you are secluded and since there is no one for miles it can make the stillness even more exaggerated. We tracked on though. The kids you could tell had needed a good walk and at some points were running on the flatter parts. Getting everyone some much needed outdoor time.There is nothing quiet like the fresh crisp winter air to help clear the mind and relax the soul.

E

A Different Point of View

When you stop to look up when walking what might you see. Now maybe try looking down do you see something different. On your journey can you look up and down to see the whole picture or can you look at just part and see it all. When life gets hectic do you stop and take in the big picture or maybe just a glimpse of something. Sometimes it’s just time for a new point of view. When I find myself being overwhelmed with something I stop what I am doing and take a deep breath, then I look at something new to focus on. Even if that focus is just a small bit of my time. As you know by now from reading my blog we go hiking and do nature walks a lot. When I was doing some nature photography on my last walk instead of just focusing on the sky or on a leaf on the ground I decided to point my camera straight up a pine tree. Then I stopped and thought after looking at my shot I had took. What a magnificent thing this tree really is. This tree has existed long before any of us were around. It has seen many changes in life good and bad. It has been chewed on and climbed on. Had nest built in it. It’s bark holds many stories of its life. Lines on the palm is what the trees bark is to me. Without it many things wouldn’t have been possible. A bird couldn’t had stopped to rest. A squirrel couldn’t have had a home to raise its young. Many possibilities would have been lost if it wasn’t for that tree being there. To look with such detail at a tree when one is in a forest it makes you see how every tree is unique and is important. It’s nice to give yourself a different point of view. That view could be anything that you need in that moment. Sometimes its good to stop and give yourself that breathing grace to focus on something new. Or sometimes just to take in the scenery and get a different perspective.

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Back to the Basics

Blogging on my trip has been fun. The reason is I only have a notebook and pen. Our little cabin in the woods has no internet or cell service ( I didn’t feel like bringing my laptop). It’s hard to believe with modern day technology that anything like that exists. It is one of the many perks of vising this cabin. Here I am jotting down some notes to then retype when I return home. The thing is I love being able to get back to the basics. It’s nice not having technology for a little bit and to just enjoy the silence of it all. My husband can’t take any work calls, it is 100% family time. We go on a lot of hikes while we are here. The kids love to try to figure out what animal made the snow track. There are a lot of waterfalls here even though they are frozen in time. Even they enjoy the slower pace of winter. This is our battery recharge. We come here to reflect and realize what is really important to us. We bring our telescope to do a lot of star gazing. My daughter dreams of one day being an astronaut veterinarian so I figured it’s a good start ( I love hearing there aspirations). It’s so quiet here the only sound beside trees creaking in the breeze is the sound we create ( which can be loud sometimes with kids playing). It is also so dark here at night since there is no one near, no distant city, nothing… just you and the forest around you. At night we build a camp fire and make smores. It is so neat to see the contrast of fire and ice. Our campfire is surrounded by mounds of snow which the kids have carved out into seats and sitting areas. It’s nice to be sitting surrounded in snow that is now glowing in the campfire. We have time for the little things in life. My son is now trying to figure out the very complicated game of chess. Something that sometimes we don’t always make time to teach. I have to admit that I am terrible at the game but my son is having fun learning. At home I sometimes find myself zoning out on my phone for a while but here we play chess and talk about life and enjoy the fresh air. Since we go for a while cut off from the outside world we are not distracted. Instead we can focus on what matters in the moment.

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To Take a Nature Walk

Another weekend and another hiking trip. Did I mention we go for nature walks and hikes often. Something about getting back to our roots is a comfort. The primal instinct to go walking around in nature and to be apart of it. Lets think at one time human kind didn’t know that there was a possibility of living inside the way we do today. To never leave ones home or just sit outside to get some fresh air. Our life is not designed to always live a life of recycled air from a building ( I love AC when it is super hot outside). We are meant to be apart of the Earth’s pulse. That is why when no matter what is going on in our family life. When we step out onto that trail it gives you a sense of clarity. My mom always use to say to me ” go out and get some of that vitamin D.”

Our trip was a beautiful sunny day. It has been very cold and wet lately so it was great to finally see the sun. Though is was sunny the wind still had a bite to it. My family and I bundled up and hit the trail. It was so peaceful. We only came across one other family when walking. You can imagine how quiet the woods was. My kids explored some of the tree bases looking in their nooks and crannies. My daughter has this amazing wild imagination ( I hope she always has it). She was imaging that those were little fairy homes. When she got home that night she of course had to draw some of the tress with fairies coming out of them. The woods even though it was sunny they still have that deep shadowing. It has that effect of pulling a blanket close to your face to bring you comfort at night. Where we hiked the whole forest is all pine trees, so there were millions of pine needles lining our path. Oh and the aroma of those pine needles every step released the smell on the ground. It was a moment of clarity that my family needed. To just step out into the world and explore the big and little things it has to offer. I was able to do a lot of photography ( I will share that throughout this month on my Instagram) which is one of my many outlets in life. I love being able to capture that moment in time and to look back at it years from now and appreciate it even more. I have always loved photography. It wasn’t until I was in collage and majored in art was I able to get better at getting that great shot.

E