Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein
Sometimes you need to get out and about and you have no destination in mind. Sometimes, you get a little tired within the walls of your home and feel the need to escape. Sometimes, you just need to get outdoors.
This happened to us a few weeks ago and we ended up at my dear Mt. Baldy. We took a long walk in the cool weather and it was the perfect answer to a hectic week. I watched the rest of my family as they ambled up the path and just smiled to myself. This unplanned trip was the perfect answer to “What are we doing to do today?”
We ended up talking, laughing, and reconnecting because there were no distractions. There is no tv to turn on, no computer to get lost in – there’s just a trail, trees and the open sky. I remembered how fortunate I am to be surrounded with such natural beauty so close to home. I thought about how fortunate I was to have a family who wanted to spend time with me – doing nothing & everything at the same time. I remembered what it is I love so much about wide, open spaces.
Things I heard along the way:
“Mom! There’s a bee chasing me!”
“Mom, I don’t want to walk anymore. My legs just won’t work!”
“Mom, isn’t all this green pretty?”
“Oh no! That tree fell down. That’s so sad.”
“I think it’s warm enough to swim in the lake. I really think it is.”
I looked on at my family, brought together in this new place, enjoying this incredible scenery and I just….smiled, relaxed, breathed! Have you escaped the house lately? Where’s your favorite place to escape?
The beach. It’s my favorite place in the world to be. Just the smell of the salty air can bring me back to the appreciation of “now” in a snap. I love the sounds – sea gulls, waves, crowds (or not). I love the sights – a seemingly endless stretch of water in front of you, the white of the sand, the lapping of the water as it soaks the boundary between water and land. I love it all. I miss it terribly. I’m used to being pretty close to the ocean. Close enough to hop in your car and be there in a few hours.
I do, however, think I’ve found a worthy replacement. Lake Michigan is grand, commanding and beautiful. It’s surrounding landscape is breath-taking. And then there are the dunes. While dunes are not new to me, dunes the size of Mt. Baldy and the like are quite new. I’m accustomed to dunes a few feet high. The Indiana Dunes are indeed a sight to behold.
Last year, when I first made a trip to the beach of Lake Michigan, I was in a state of confusion. My sparkling emerald water and blinding white sand had been replaced by a bit of sand and rocks – but it was a beach, all the same – the water gracefully lapping at the shore, rather than violently crashing into it. It was a moving scene, nonetheless. In fact, I decided on that day that the magic is somewhere hidden in those large bodies of water.
As a newcomer to a Great Lake, it is amazing to see. And while it wasn’t the beach I was accustomed to, it was a place filled with that same serenity and beauty I’d come to know and love over my life.
I’ve been back numerous times. The latest was just a few weeks ago. This time, I hiked to the top of Mt. Baldy (with a baby on my back) and then spent some time at the waters edge. It was a beautiful day,which had abnormally reached temperatures in the 80s. I made the absolute best of it and even managed to convince a visitor that she was going to see a part of Indiana she’d never expect. She fell in love immediately.
The Indiana Dunes are now a part of me, a part of my outdoor routine. I’m convinced that I see something new and beautiful every time I go. Whether it be those gorgeous rocks, the beautiful plant life or a new view – there’s always more and I’ll keep going back to see it.
Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom to three boys and a baby girl, but don't let that fool you. She'll keep you in style and in-the-know with this thing called parenthood. Even though none of us know what we're doing.