This was a very special encounter with nature’s perfection, which I called…
It is consumed and depleted that I take my car and drive the highway to reach the most exquisite ” nature spot “.
I avow. It’s not what you have in mind, when I call it by that name, but to me, it’s been the paradise I seek, when my body and soul need some healing. When it’s battered and drained from a festivity, a birth or just plain life.
It’s been twenty five years, I’ve been cradled, cushioned and protected by it’s relaxed surroundings.
I take the first exit. It slows my pace and introduces me to the quality, the heartbeat of earth. It is, by now, a ritual.The roads become narrower, cows graze the fields on either sides, houses get smaller…
I ride at my leisure passing a huge forest, the road darkening under the shadow of the tall, strong and sturdy trees. A minutes rest for my eyes against the glare of daylight and I’ve arrived at my destination.
I am greeted by a big splash of, light and dark grey ( the clouds! ) surrounded by different tones of green but, for the exception of a short straight line of dark crimson in the distance.
The lake is still. As in wait.Dark clouds loom low. Thunder rumbles in the distances.
We are, Sunday the ninth of May two thousand and ten.
The weather is perfect for me. I know I’ll have the park all to myself. People shy away from rain, whereas sunshine, makes me look for more isolated spaces. Armed with my umbrella, I take a purposeful stride and go on my usual itinerary. Which is,walking around the lake, starting on the right side.
Calmness, descends upon my soul, and joy fills up to the brim. I take a deep breath and glance appreciatively at the willow trees, bowing down gracefully to natures caprice.
The surroundings invite me to loosen every nerve and muscle in my body. Tensions gradually dissipates.
I go on and find, a high and wide bush of dark pink Rhododendrons in full bloom, wishing I was a skillful painter to capture on a canvas those vivid colors. But instead, I ” fish ” out of my pocket a digital camera and seize natures imprints.
Every corner of this park is embedded with memories. Some very old and some fairly recent. Just a few feet away, I see myself twenty years ago on my due date, resting on the grass, dozing off, anticipation buried deep, in the upcoming birth of our son. Further on, I climb up, a trickle of a path and find myself perched on a man-made ridge and admire the full view of the lake and forest, remembering summer days when the weather is warm and the park “buzzed” with people as bees in a hive, and enjoying this setting being as remote as one could wish for. The ones staying long enough were those looking for what I’d come for and respected the veil of peace protecting it.
I could nearly call it my own.
I absorb this special moment of tranquility and go rushing down the other side of the slope, welcomed by the scents of, Pine trees, shrubs of Yew, Laurel, Thuja, Spruce and berberry in bloom dangling as orange bells or tear drops. Every color blending, one in another. Apple green to yellow, vivid and dark green…A small bush of white Rhododendrons lying low at the back, surprises the wondering gaze.
My eyes skip from one to the other, afraid of missing out a tint. A hue.
I feel like a child in a sweet shop. Wanting to take everything in sight, stuff it in my pockets or, treasure it in the folds of a precious well used book. But again, what I do is fill my digital, feed my ” chip ” with every shape imaginable, a delicate nerve on a leaf, a tone, a glow, a bark, and if it were possible, the passion felt for so much splendor, trapped within the chambers of my heart, now released and free to take whichever path it chooses.
I saunter along, feeling blessed as I see the dark clouds, gaping and letting escape from it’s grip, a strong beam of sunlight, flooding at my feet. I close my eyes in delight at the unexpected warmth crossing my eyelids, my face. This game of hide and seek, keeps recurring throughout the day.
Knowing this place as the palm of my hand, I realize, it’s the first time, I’ve ever seen it through this angle.
Every season has it’s moment. It comes, goes. We capture it and are the sole witnesses of this living magnificence.
The breathing pattern of nature is diverse. Dependable on many factors. One of them, man’s respect towards it.
As I walk on, I gaze at a big, sturdy red beech tree, the rusty tinge on it’s leaves catch the light, branches hang protectively over two wooden tables and benches, for people to find shade and enjoy a picnic between friends or family. I observe the narrow path, leading to the forest, not daring to venture, just in case I might miss out on something more exiting. The lake maybe, and its reflection, the ducks swimming, indifferent to life’s constant changes, the breeze ruffling the landscape, the rare passer-by, nodding in acknowledgement…
So, I go back to the paved foot-way and go on my designed route.
As I amble, a stream of trees pass-by my eyes as in a parade. Straight, tall and ready to the order. Birch trees with it’s characteristic white bark, Oak and Beech trees, Hornbeam and plane trees… I feel happy and dizzy. I have no doubt. Nature is where we belong.
A little bit further is the football terrain and Lilac ” laces ” daintily the contour. A few meters on, a Holly bush, gives a Christmas touch even though months have long gone by. An Elder plant, Viburnum and Cornus all present, a wilder aspect of nature. They’re rough looking shrubs. Whereas the pink blooming of Weigelia, is a palette of sophistication and delicacy. Every step taken, is the discovery of yet, another marvel. There is never a moment of boredom. It’s a sheer delight to the contemplator.
I finally find ” our ” ghost tree which is a weeping Nootkacypress, looking like a pine tree with needles literally ” dripping ” to the ground in a haunted way. It has it’s place of honor. Right in the middle of the mini-golf. A popular national pass-time.
Being here feels like being part of a big painting project. Which unravels along the path, bit by bit, piece by piece of composed beauty, which I collect and stick together at the end, when I go back to reality. Being given the opportunity and privilege to create my (inner) masterpiece. The one I’ll pull out from my secret draw and indulge into, for a fleeting moment.
I shake myself from my reverie and cross the narrow railway designed for the small steam train, ( taking children who tire easily on the way ) and recognize bamboo on the corner and Wisteria climbing up a shack.
The air is fresh and crisp. Nature unfolds itself to me. Ribes, Horse chestnut, False Holly… My lungs take in a maximum of pure oxygen then, on my right, I step unto the magical and airy sight of a field of Dandelions ready to blow away by it’s first gust of wind.
I notice on my left, a young lonesome, fragile Cherry tree, bending under the pressures of the elements. Further, a carpet of daisies greet me as the confirmation to a harsh winters closure.
I finally pass those red Beech trees with it’s crimson leaves I had noticed at the entrance and became aware of a dream coming to it’s end. I was lucky to have come at a very special time of the year. The moment, nature opens up his palette to the few and the privileged.
I give one last glance, before tearing myself away from a scenery I felt complete with the time, of what seemed, like the trajectory of a shooting star, promising myself to replenish my soul whenever I feel the need, and not wait for my mind and body to scream in desperation.
I find, gladly, the warmth and coziness of my car and drive back to my loved ones, a new person. Refreshed, vibrant and energized. Ready to embrace life in all it’s facets.
Yet… In wait for the next, interlude.