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?