I just came back from a 3-day getaway to do some hiking in Hocking Hills in southern Ohio. I figured that was socially distanced enough to be safe now that I’ve had the vaccine.
I walked through the woods, keeping one eye on the roots and rocks along the trail and the other wide in wonder at the spring beauty around me.
A thought, a feeling came over me like a huge wave — it has been so long since I NOTICED!
Maybe that sounds weird, but all the stay-at-home, one-day-pretty-much-like-the-next pandemic time has dulled my senses. As I think back, there was very little to be awed and amazed at over the last year. A lot of same-o, same-o. One day melting into the next day, week, month, overlaid with a blanket of anxiety.
This was my first “trip” to someplace really new since September 2019. There were so many little things to wonder at, that I had forgotten about. I stopped every few feet, just to look around and let that feeling of amazement wash over me.
The light green fiddle-head fern unfurling.
Purple, yellow, and white violets poking up through dry leaves.
Rock faces dressed in mosaic patterns of orange iron oxide stain and sage-grey lichen blooms.
Shimmering waterfalls tumbling over sandstone.
Everywhere there was something to re-activate my senses. The whoosh of wind through the tall Hemlocks. The musty mossy smell of places that are perpetually wet. Chirping birds in the branches overhead. A pair of hawks endlessly circling in the thermals over the gorge.
At the end of every day, I felt alive and tingling and exhausted. It’s been a long time since I had that kind of workout, physically and sensory. I was overloaded with so much to take in, so much to notice. It was such a great feeling, to feel so alive again.
What have you taken time to really NOTICE for the first time in a long time?
How has it made you feel?
Photo: JMaliszewski, Wildflowers in Hocking Hills State Park, 2021