Back in the olden days when I was a child, I walked to school. In fact, every day I walked twice to school. First, I walked to school (1/4 mile) then I walked home for lunch, then I walked back to school, then I walked home. No adult ever accompanied me. I was on my own to absorb the sights, smells, and sounds of nature.
Even in the Boston suburbs, nature abounded. In spring, robin eggs fell out of trees revealing lifeless chicks. Winter brought sparkling snow on trees and bushes. My favorite season was fall.
I loved to shuffle through leaves. The crunching sound was a delight to my ears. Decaying leaves had an evocative smell of life passing swiftly.
Nowadays I don’t shuffle through leaves so much. I still am enthralled by the pristine nature of a perfect fall day in New England. Yesterday my husband and I celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi by having a picnic down by the lake. Wispy white clouds sailed in the blue sky as trees ablaze with color were reflected in the still waters.
Soon winter will set in, and I will snowshoe over the lake. I will still absorb the dazzling purity of a fresh snowfall. St. Francis knew that all creation was the thumbprint of God.
We packed up the lunch and headed home, fortified by the beauty of a shimmering lake in autumn.