This is the harder part of winter. I lamented, just the other day, that I missed the beauty of the flowers, painted along my path, and glistening with small droplets, after a summer rain. What do I see instead?
Mud and slush are burying my memories, of fuchsia, turquoise and canary yellow. The cold winds and penetrating dampness are driving away the sense of hope that came upon us last spring. Shades of grey overtake the February sky, and my mood.
Why on earth am I out in this?
Every winter I spend a small part of my weekends, on some of the shortest days of the year, in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. I’m driven there, as I have written before, by the promise of hearty soup, warm conversation, toasted marshmallows, and another punch on my Winter Hike “dance card.”
Collecting enough punches (7 winter hikes) earns me a Metro Parks patch, or a “2020” mini-patch that I can (but never do) sew onto a denim jacket, encircling the Metro Parks patch. Collecting all the punches (13 winter hikes) earns me a “Metro Parks” branded hiking stick, or a medallion to display on my hiking stick, with the 2020 featured park – this year it’s Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
Every winter, as February comes to an end, and the final organized hike of the season approaches, I’m excited, and a little sad. There’s still this last bit of winter to get through!
Why can’t the hikes go on all year? Well, why can’t my relationship with the parks go on all year, with or without an organized hike? Why can’t I stay, in the parks, for a while?
Beautiful things happen, when I put my errands, obligations, and “To-do” list aside, and just stay for a little while longer than I’d planned, and go back to the parks after the official hike series ends.
Some Beautiful Things:
I’m present, fully present, in the moment.
When the “Golden Hour” arrives, and the light is warm, rich and inviting, I’m still in the park.
With my camera in my hands, and an artistic eye, I take the time to look closer, at the natural world. I might be inspired to contemplate what my places is, in this environment.
I see color! I see texture! I see shapes and patterns!
More than that, I see the beauty and peace that is all around me.
What a way to spend the late afternoon, near the end of February, while winter is still holding on! My advice? Stay long enough for the golden hour! Trust me, it’s worth it!
Join me on my next adventure,
Get Fit: Metro Parks Annual Winter Hike Series (Columbus on the Cheap): https://www.columbusonthecheap.com/metro-parks-annual-winter-hike-series/
Metro Parks Winter Hike Series 2020 Flyer: https://www.metroparks.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Winter-hikes-flyer-2020.pdf
“Warmer Winter Fun: 10TV: https://www.10tv.com/article/rise-visitors-metro-parks-ahead-2020-winter-hikes-2020-jan
Parks included in the 2020 Winter Hike Series:
BATTELLE DARBY CREEK*
* Leashed pets are welcome to walk with you at these hikes