For the second time this week, I hiked my “Home Base Park,” Sweetwater Creek State Park. Sweetwater calls me back season after season. It helps that this park holds great sentimental value, being the one I have spent the most time at over the past 20 years. I return every season to the same signs and hike down the same trails to see the changes brought on by Father Time and Mother Earth. They rearrange things like an old couple maneuvering the furniture in the living room.
Sweetwater is a place I’m guaranteed to see something new, something different every time I visit thanks to that old couple. Their restlessness with leaving things the way they are help me cope with the passage of time.
Once upon a time, when I was a kid, my mom asked me, “What’s your favorite season?” I replied that winter is my favorite. The cold, harsh winter when the plants give up their conquest for world domination and bare their skeletons for all to see. I love the frost, the snow, the ice and the biting wind that chases people away. Time has made the season more unbearable for my body. But, my mind still longs for winter. I relish the quiet solitude that blows in with the gray skies and muted landscapes. Everyone goes home to stay warm among fire and family. I stand with my toes as close to the flowing water as I dare.., living on the edge.. my mind drifting downstream with the water like the leaves. Make way for Old Man Winter as he comes around the bend. Welcome back, old friend.