Sometimes, when we look back on our recent past we discover that we are not where we should be. The move forward to better ourselves has stalled, showing little or no progress. I discovered how far back I had fallen when I attempted a recent stroll through Merryspring.
Normally, I am a pretty healthy person, perhaps suffering one serious cold a year but this year was different. Coping with my mother’s final illness in the beginning of the year had not only lowered my resistance to whatever was going around the neighborhood but I had entered into a paralysis that caused me to hide from the outside world. As a result, even though the sunny days had forced the temperatures well into the 70s, I had succumbed to something that put me out of commission for a week. I probably should have known better but the temperatures and sunshine seemed to demand that I spend the day outdoors instead of nursing myself back to health.
Once at Merryspring, I decided to explore the rather short, interpretative trail before attempting one of the longer trails. This should have been easy, but my walks had become shorter throughout the winter and I was still feeling woozy. Still, it felt good to be out on such a lovely day.
Entering the woods, I noticed that the signs of spring were everywhere. Spring had come late this year but now nature was determined to get things going. Although flowers were not blooming yet, the ground was covered with the distinctive leaves of the Canada Mayflower and Starflower. My first stop along the trail was to study a natural spring down the hill, the surrounding stones giving it the appearance of something man-made.
As I ventured out of the woods into the first meadow, I realized that I was really pushing myself on this stroll. Fortunately, the meadow allowed me to pause and listen to the numerous birds that were taking advantage of the beautiful day. Staring through the mixed, wild vegetation before me, I spied a white flower, a Bloodroot almost hidden in the undergrowth.
The signs for the trail became a little confusing here, seeming to point across the field on one side but along the wood line on the other. I studied the situation for a moment, before discovering the next descriptive post to my left, near the woods. As I wandered along this trail, I noticed that many of the trails leading off towards other sections of the gardens seemed to be blocked off, perhaps the result of ongoing trail maintenance.
Near the end of this adventure, the descriptive sign posts directed me to a vernal pond. The peepers were silent but I was able to enjoy the songbirds flitting about. Nearby, I found a bumper crop of new ferns ready to unfurl. Nearly exhausted from the effort of this very short walk, I sat in the gazebo for a bit, admiring the flowers in the formal gardens before heading home. I promised myself, that in the weeks ahead I would do better.