When I was a little girl, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to grow up in the woods. Everyone in our neighborhood had 4-6 acres of wooded property and to my brother and I, it was a place of adventure and refuge. I spent so many days walking barefoot in the creek that ran down our property line, making lean-tos out of fallen limbs and leaves and sitting on the steep hill side listening to the sounds of the natural world around me.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve spent substantial time in the woods. We have access to a lot of beautiful parks and forests but finding the time and making the effort to go is not always easy. Recently, my mom moved from downtown Asheville out to a more rural mountain community that back ups to a gorgeous area of hiking trails known as the Florence Nature Preserve Trail. These trails are a hikers paradise and to access them, we only have to cross a tiny foot bridge and walk straight back behind her property.
We spent a few days visiting my mom after Christmas and one day while we were bundled up and playing on the swing in her backyard, we decided to do a bit of exploring. I grew up backpacking and camping with my family and Brent spent a lot of his teenage years hiking the Appalachian trail. It’s an experience we hope to replicate with our own kids, so we grabbed our carriers and set out with mom on the blue trail just through the woods.
I realized we’ve grown far too comfortable with the sights and sounds of city life. I want my kids to be intimately familiar with the things I knew so well as a child. The shuffle and crunch of fallen leaves under our feet, the smell of dirt and moss in the crevices of our palms, and that endless feeling that comes each time you look up at the sea of towering tree overhead.
More of this, please.