Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Walk in the Woods

When my family of five moved from Villa Park, IL almost three years ago, we all lamented leaving behind our beloved Prairie Path on which we spent many happy hours—and memories--walking. Shortly after moving to the south of Eau Claire, WI (technically in the town of Washington), the kids and I blissfully discovered the local’s entry into a magical wooded world that rivaled anything we had ever encountered this close to home.

With temps reaching into the high 80’s and low 90's this past week, I retreated onto these wooded trails of beautiful Lowes Creek County Park three times. Twice I was able to drag one of my three children along. For some reason unbeknownst to me, they now balk whenever they are asked if they’d care to join me on one of my treks.

With all honesty, I have to confess that when surrounded by nature, I tend to get absorbed by my surroundings. That said, I have to conclude that the hours which are mere minutes to me as each new bend on a path, rustle of leaves…, or damselfly beacons me to follow a bit further, deeper into their world, takes me farther from my children’s. It does not help that I bring a camera along!

The trip I made alone was the most enjoyable. It was quite incredible as I was totally awed at new vistas on a newly explored trail. A butterfly I had long sought after, a Baltimore checkerspot, suddenly flew past me, landing on the grass. It allowed me to get really close where I discovered that this black and orange winged beauty--with striking orange-tipped antennae--also had orange palpi, eyes, and legs!!!

Also encountered was a deer posing on a narrow path, a red spotted purple butterfly weaving through the canopy of trees above, and several wild columbine flowers that were still in bloom—something I’ll be able to share with my children through photos. --LKR


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