Creating Beauty Out of the Mud

The water lilies in Forest Park are loving this weather.

Every morning I walk my dog Rosie in nearby Forest Park. I grew up in the suburbs, which was okay, but no match for the splendor of this public space. There are buildings which are remnants of the 1904 World’s Fair. There is a fantastic art museum, miles of bike and walking trails, a restored prairie/savannah/woodland area, a golf course, a cricket field, a open air theatre which hosts musicals each summer and boasts a section of free seats, lakes, underground rivers, a skating rink, a world class zoo and a whole lot more. Forest Park is about 1,300 acres in the middle of a city. In recent weeks I have seen cranes, blue heron, a bald eagle!, a family of white-tailed deer, loads of squirrels and chipmunks. I have been watching a family of goslings grow bigger and take to the water. I have heard frogs and red-wing black birds, crickets, cicadas, other creatures that I don’t know enough to identify. Plus all the usual human noises. I love it!

Sometimes we take a path that is both steps away from three teaching hospitals (Barnes-I was born there, Jewish-I worked in the ICU in the late 1980s, Children’s-my oldest son spent a night there) and this beautiful boardwalk through a wetland. Cranes! Frogs! Water lilies!

This daily walk in nature is so soothing to my soul. There is the physical movement to help process negative emotions. There is the overwhelming beauty of the place that triggers thoughts of gratitude. There are other people and dogs and sometimes music that remind me of my connection to the larger world.

And the water lilies! These beautiful flowers grow out of the mud. Need the mud to blossom. This metaphor is healing for me as well. Yes, there is mud in my life. Messy and not desired. But I can use the mud to grow something beautiful. Sure, it takes more than mud. Sunshine, water, rhizomes. So I can reach out to others for the bits I do not have and we can create amazing things out of difficulty.

How about you?


  1. Mud is no fun, but I do think walking outside helps. That’s where we soak up the sunshine and hear the birds’ songs. It’s where the mud starts to dry out and become stable again under our feet.

    I’ve been to Forest Park several times. My sister and brother-in-law used to have a condo on a street facing the park. (I don’t remember the name of the park.) The art museum is awesome, and so are the zoo and all the walking paths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I think walking should be the first therapy ordered for people in distress. If they have that ability. If you ever make it back to our fair city, I would love to walk some of the paths with you (and dear hubs.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a fine job of listing all the delights of Forest Park. You missed the last two places I’ve visited: the Science Museum and the History Museum. And the museums have free admission, thanks to the people of St. Louis and St. Louis County having approved a taxing district to support them. We probably need to raise the tax, though, because they seem to be using parking fees to supplement, and that’s not fair to people who have to drive there.
    Agreed about walking, and about water lilies. Buddhists see their three levels of existence as symbolic of the three levels of awareness that we humans have access to. (I seem to alternate between mud and water, never quite making it up into the air, at least not for more than brief moments.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard to list all of the delights of Forest Park. So, yes, I tanked on that.
      Thanks for the info on your favorite spots.
      I hope to see you soon!


  3. Outside in nature is so healing. I try to get out everyday at least for 1/2 hour or more. I’ve never been to Forest Park, but with your description, it sounds lovely.


  4. Hello! I have never been to your area but have similar experiences in mine. Walking in nature is at the top of all activities I enjoy. It’s what humans always did for various reasons. In current times, its therapeutic qualities provide sustainable stress relief, exercise and connection to others. I have been very lucky to make friends through hiking and to have one on one time with my kids while walking in nature. I especially appreciate your paragraph on the beautiful flowers and reaching out to others. Thank you for these healing words!

    Liked by 1 person

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