Old Man Winter has arrived with a vengeance, blowing the leaves off trees, sending them to cower in piles against fences and back doors. The temperature feels more like mid-February than early November. Fortunately, we were able to take a walk through the Pawnee Prairie Nature Trails on Sunday and bask in the late morning rays of the sun spindling through the tall trees.
The trails were littered with the droppings of deer and horses and the shimmery decay of leaves. A silver-gold sheen covered one narrow path, as if the leaves had been painted in silver or gilded in gold. The scent of decay filled my nostrils, along with pungent evergreens and once in a while the smell of animal hair mixed with droppings that reminded me of the smell of a petting zoo.
It had been awhile since we’d walked through the trails and as always, I was amazed by their beauty and mystery. The trails are less than a mile from our home, but surprisingly our walks are few. We made the trails a promise to return to her on a weekly basis, rain or shine, fall or winter. I look forward to seeing her change with the seasons, to see the starkness of the trees without their leaves, to be tested by the frozen ground, to gaze upon her winter coat.
So far from the sea, a walk through the trails is just what this mermaid of the plains needs to replenish and rejuvenate my soul.