A few years ago I moved into a new community, just before Christmastime. The move came after some extremely difficult years and challenging experiences. Everyone kept asking me if I liked my new home. What could I say? In the spring, I had an answer. Do I love my new place? Let me count the ways…
Last night I went for my first walk on the trail that is right across the street from my new place. One minute out of my door and I’m out of sight of my home and immersed in nature! The trail is beautiful. You walk beside a small creek and through a park for quite a way, and then walk through an underpass/spill way for the creek. You stay surrounded by nature as life and busy thoroughfares are left behind you. Slowly you start to be aware that the water sounds have changed. What was the eager gurgle, while the stream raced and wound its’ way over and around the obstructions in the creek bed out in the open park areas, has changed to a quieter peaceful murmur as it slides unhindered over the open concrete spillway, and echoes a little bit inside the metal underpass. A little further along however, you are once again aware that the sounds of the water are changing yet again. Now, it is the sound of falling water that you are starting to be aware of. As you reach the end of the underpass, it is much louder and you find yourself standing at a lookout point beside a 20-30 foot waterfall! I was so shocked! I didn’t realize that the ground dropped off like that going down to the river at that location. What a great way to unwind…all of those beautiful robins, cardinals, blackbirds, woodpeckers (noisy little fellow that he was!! It sounded like a jackhammer going off when he started drilling into that hollow thirty foot tree trunk!), seagulls, squirrels, the beauty and tranquility of the river itself and of course, all of those other happy folks out biking, jogging, running or walking, with or without their dogs. The path then continues beside the river, winds through a bush before ending up at a park and suddenly I am immersed back into the hustle and bustle of suburbia.
The people are so friendly here. I passed a number of people out walking their dogs. Be they German Shepherds, Black Labs, Collies, Heinz 57’s etc., it made no difference. They were all enjoying the treat of just being able to be out in the WARM, if slightly overcast, spring evening. All had smiles on their faces and were quick to offer their version of a cheery “Hello”. Whether spoken in English or Canine, it made no difference. The message and the emotions were the same. What a treat and what a beautiful evening! One pair of ladies who were out for their walk had an older dog with them on their trek. He looked like he was a mixed breed and probably was a cross between a Black Lab and a Collie, with the colouring of the Black Lab. He was so old though, that all of the fur around his chin had turned snow white. When he walked, he kind of lumbered along as he tried his best to keep up with his mistress. You could tell that it was a real challenge for him, and he was trying so hard to hurry! However, it just wasn’t happening for him last night. He had that kind of “smile” on his face that dogs sometimes have when they’re happy just to be out and about with their beloved master or mistress. As the ladies passed me by, they smiled and send “hello”, but quickly returned to their conversation. Their faithful companion kept pace with them, albeit about 30 feet behind them. I said to him as we passed, “They’re leaving you behind!” He just “grinned” at me and kept plodding faithfully along behind them! I’m sure I heard him say when he looked back at me, “Yeah, but I’m not as young as I used to be and you know, it’s been one of those days. My arthritis is acting up on me tonight! They don’t mean to leave me behind! It’s OK, sometimes we just like our own space!” He didn’t care, he didn’t have to be “in their back pocket” to be content. Just being close and out together, walking and enjoying nature and the beautiful evening, was enough for him to be content, and oh so very happy!
Now I wonder….what I will discover today, tomorrow, and the days after that? What will I discover when I take a left turn, rather than a right turn? It could be anything, but the most important thing, I’m sure, will be peace and contentment. That’s because now I feel like I am at peace with myself and I am really HOME! It may be a new community, but it’s HOME!