By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
This year, I’ve grown outside my rose gardens. I’ve taken interest, and cultivated it, in nature with a broader scope.
Woodlands are an example. My meanderings have been relatively close to home. Strange as it may sound, I didn’t know there was so much to explore until the past year or so, when time became more a friend than a deadline. What you can do when you have time on your hands!
Just today, my curiosity got the better of me while driving along River Road. There’s a woodlot, I think it could be called that, just down from Auberge Richelieu, you know the place, “the barn” as it’s called by some of the locals.
Less than an hour later, that little stretch of road got inside my head and would not get out. I said to my wife: “Let’s go back to River Road and check out the woods beside the barn.”
And so we went. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was shining and the sky was azure. What better time to poke around through trees as thin as pencils (well, some of them) and walk upon fallen leaves that crunch and crackle under foot.
Fallen leaves make those sounds for more than one reason. Apart from the obvious, they are nature’s alarm system in a way. The crackling alerted two rabbits and a few squirrels of this intruder’s presence. The rabbits, fleet of foot, beat it out my sight and squirrels found trees and scurried up and up before stopping to have a look around. Such are the woodlot’s amenities for our furry friends. The fallen leaves are their alarms.
I feel better for the getaway to this sanctuary of sorts. It’s painted in hues of yellow and gentle brown time of year. Yellow can be contagious, I find. It has a way of perking up the spirits. How can you not feel “up” when in the midst of so much leafy mirth?
Time as a friend not a deadline has made the difference in this life, I know now without a doubt. Time to explore, even so close to home, is one of life’s greatest gifts.
(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. It’s My Life, Sort Of, is a recurring feature on the blog.)