Back at UGA for Spring semester, although it is still very much winter now. Walking from downtown Athens, through gorgeous North campus, there is so much nature to be thankful for along the way. The huge, old trees towering over the manicured grass and planting beds. A pair of landscapers are planting pansies in a container next to the path. Even though the wind chill is blasting and there are many people about, I find a moment with nature here. I breathe a sigh and think of the time that has passed since these trees were young and all they have seen.
I regret that I didn’t discover The Founder’s Garden when I was first at UGA fifteen years ago. It is a lovely gem of semi-solitude sandwiched between the sighing bamboo along the path behind Park Hall, and the Founder’s House. I found a sweet spot on a bench facing the brick house and looking over the nearly bonsai size boxwood hedges. The short hedges are cut into a simple labyrinth pattern and I couldn’t help walking around the paths and gazing at the sundial. I sat for awhile in quiet and relative solitude until a few people walked the labyrinth while talking on their phones.
Both of these observations are natural, but not “in the woods”, so I decided to finally finish raking my backyard. I have lots of huge old oaks and hickories and stubbornly refuse to get a powered leaf blower and instead rake by hand to enjoy the woods around me. I was enjoying the sound of the crunchy leaves, watching the squirrels, and letting being outside, alone, release my mind from all the stress that can accumulate. That’s the best part of being in nature for me, its ability to clear the clutter of the day-to-day and allow me to relax and focus on the present. Then, the not so distant as I thought neighbor started his chainsaw, and I was brought back from that peaceful feeling of being a kid walking through my backyard mountains in North Carolina. I will take nature where I can find it and hope to visit a place further from civilization soon to better enjoy the natural beauty we are blessed with.