It has been warmer than usual this week. It is early spring in Minnesota. I am loving it. I slept like a baby last night with the windows open, the ceiling fan on low, and the fresh cool air gently blowing the curtains. It rained lightly during the night. The sounds of nature lull me to sleep and the song of the birds woke me up this morning. I love going to sleep and waking up naturally to the sounds of nature. This morning I heard the sounds of many birds singing. The chorus of birds included; chickadees, robins, cardinals, doves, crows and a woodpecker in the distance. I came downstairs to make coffee and I heard Lily and Gray. They are a pair of mallards I named years ago. They came in for a landing in the little pond in my backyard. My pond and garden have become a sanctuary for them. They return every year to my yard. I feel so honored that they use it like their own private resort. They even walk on the path that winds through my garden instead of walking on my plants.
I try to get out and walk every day in nature. Today I decided to walk at Sunset Pond. It is a 10 minute drive from my house and it is a beautiful place to walk, run, and bike. I found this little gem years ago nestled in a quiet neighborhood of a neighboring suburb. I have been visiting this pond for 28 years. I would drop my kids off at preschool and head to Sunset Pond to run. I had just enough time to run 5 miles and get back to pick the kids up. It always reminds me of a place my brother, Kevin would have loved. I know he had never visited it while he was alive, but it is a beautiful park with lots of natural space he would have enjoyed. It is a place that brings me peace when I go there. I think of him every time I visit. I no longer run, but I walk and bike quite frequently there. It is a gift to yourself and your well-being to visit places in nature that bring you joy, peace, calm, gratitude for life and to get your body moving. Nature heals.
Sunset Pond is a park that has picnic shelters, fishing, a playground within the 100-acre park of meadows, woods and a marshy pond that is 65-acres. There is a 2 mile paved path that meanders around the marshy areas and it is sprinkled with many different species of conifers and deciduous trees. I love the tall grasses, reeds, and cattails that surround the edges of the pond. The red-winged blackbirds land on the tips of the reeds and sing their songs and balance so perfectly as the wind sways them gently. The pond and its little islands are home to many lovely animals, birds, eagles, trumpeter swans, rabbits, turtles, butterflies, and countless other creatures great and small. It is a beautiful place any time of year. The landscape changes with each season and there is always something interesting to witness while having a place to exercise. I was running one day and I saw something on the path ahead of me. When I got closer it was a massive snapping turtle covered in moss. Incredible, beautiful, ancient, slow-moving creature with a snapping mouth. I gave it a wide berth.
Today the temperature reached 72 degrees and it is warm and windy. The weather is a welcome treat after a week of rainy and damp days. The wind is quite audible in my ears. My long gray hair has a life of its own and it is flying freely and totally unrestrained. As I get to the halfway point around the pond, the wind is in my face and my hair is at least blowing back away from my face. The beauty of walking in a circle. The wind is working against you half of the way around and with you the other half. I am glad to be able to see once again.
The sky is blue with white clouds and a far away sliver of a white contrail from a distant jet. The sounds around me are a cacophony of birds singing. The lineup of singers include vibrant red cardinals, red winged black birds, robins, quacking mallards, and the honking of Canadian Geese. Last but not least, the magnificent trumpeting of two huge, white, majestic, swans. All animals and plants have a spiritual meaning and significance and carry messages to us. They are here to remind us of our own spiritual significance. Today I looked up the meaning of trumpeter swans and they help us find new ways to go with the flow in our thinking and breathing. They remind us to pay attention to our intuitive powers, instincts, and inner nudges. Swans remind us of our beauty and grace within and remind us to share it with others. All of nature and her creatures hold the high vibration of angels. Drink in their energy and renew your spirit.
At the far end of the pond there is an additional path that extends through the woods. I like adding that extension to my walk. There is a hill that descends and curves to the left and meanders through tall, older trees that stand as high vibrating sentinels guarding these mystical woods tucked into this quiet neighborhood. I have always been attracted to a curved path that winds through trees with twists and turns where you can not see where it leads. It beckons me in. Go find a place to be in nature and renew your mind, your heart, deepen your breath and thank Mother Nature for the gifts she gives us every day.